Ponytail palm Beaucarnea recurvata

Beaucarnea recurvata

Ponytail palm Beaucarnea recurvata

Beaucarnea recurvata
Curled leaves
The palm looks just like a ponytail! The Beaucarnea recurvata lives up to its name. Multiple tufts with curling leaves grow on the Ponytail palm. Not only is this strong plant a looker, it's easy to care for! Care of this houseplant is a breeze! Don't water it until the potting soil feels dry to the touch. The Ponytail palm likes plenty of light and can even handle being placed in direct sunlight.

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Ponytail palm Beaucarnea recurvata
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Ponytail palm Beaucarnea recurvata
Ponytail palm Beaucarnea recurvata
How we measure

From the bottom of the nursery pot to the top of the plant.

Color: Green
Delivery type: Supplied as container plant
Edible: No
Cutting flowers: No
Grafted: No
Green stayer: Yes
Growing Height: 50 - 85 cm
Guarantee: 6 months growth and flowering guarantee
Hardy plants: No
Latin name: Beaucarnea recurvata
Leafs all year: Yes
Preferred location: Sun, Half shadow, Shadow
Naturalizing: No
Scented: Not Scented
Self polinating: No

You have a number of options upon receipt of your Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata)

  • Stand it in an attractive planter with holes in the base. Cover the holes with a layer of gravel or potsherds and stand the plant, complete with nursery pot on top. The planter will need to be stood in a saucer to collect drained off water.
  • Pot it up into an attractive planter with holes in the base. Cover the holes with a layer of gravel or potsherds and add potting compost. Stand the root ball at the correct depth and fill the pot with compost around the roots. Press firmly down - leave a space of about 3 cm from the top edge of the pot. Stand the planter in a saucer to collect drained off water.
  • Stand it in an attractive planter without holes but do layer the bottom of the pot with gravel so the plant's pot is off the bottom. A wide planter is best as then you can see whether or not the bottom of the pot is standing in water or not.
  • Or just stand the plant, nursery pot and all, on a dish - on a layer of gravel, or just directly on the dish.

The ideal spot for your Elephant’s Foot

The most perfect spot for your Beaucarnea recurvata is:

  1. Somewhere with plenty of light but also protected from the full strength of the mid-day sun. Mornings and evenings are not a problem and will even be appreciated! The ideal place is about 3 metres from the window.
  2. Somewhere warm, between 18 and 23° C. If you have underfloor heating, so much the better. Avoid standing it too close or above a radiator, the warm air flow from the heating will dry the plant out much quicker which could result in the loss of leaves or them turning brown.
Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) on your patio
During the summer months the Elephant’s Foot will be quite happy stood outdoors on the patio – but first it will need to be acclimatised to the outdoors to prevent burn spots from the sun on the leaves. To do this, stand it in full shade to start with and give it one hour longer in the sun every day for five days. Remember to bring it indoors again once the night temperatures are consistently below 8 degrees centigrade.


Keep your Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) growing well with a weekly watering - add plant food for leafy plants to the water every two weeks. You will see the difference very quickly as the plant produces new leaves.

Water twice a week in warm summers when the potting compost feels dry to the touch. Although very drought resistant, if you water it thoroughly every week, water stored in the trunk will stimulate the development of the trunk.

The Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) has a natural dormant period in November and December and will then require less watering and no feed. After the dormant period you can resume watering and continue to use fertiliser.

The Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) is fairly resistant to the dry indoor air of our homes.

As the plant has a tendency to grow towards the light, it is a good idea to give it a quarter turn every month - standing the pot (including saucer) on a wheeled base makes this easier of course.

Extra tips

Although a fairly large houseplant, Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) will appreciate being stood outdoors on a warm but rainy day. It will really perk up after a shower.

As in its natural habitat, it will regularly lose its lower leaves - do not worry if they turn yellow and drop off, as long as it continues to make new ones. Just carefully remove any dried up old leaves. This will stimulate the formation of the trunk (the white part that appears under the leaves eventually integrate into the trunk).

If you follow these tips, you can keep your Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) healthy and looking fresh for a long time.


Beaucarnea recurvata is a strong houseplant, easily grown.

Elephant’s Foot is native to Central America and those sub-tropical regions of Southern North America where it makes a great ornamental outdoor plant. Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata) is also a very popular houseplant in temperate climes like ours. Its deliciously fragrant flowers can only be expected in tropical regions.

Elephant’s Foot has recently been (re)classified under Beaucarnea recurvata and is also still known under its old name Nolina recurvata. And according to this same reclassification, Beaucarnea falls under the lily family (Asparagaceae).


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