How to Prune a Ponytail Bonsai Plant


Ponytail palm (Beaucamea recurvata) is a very unique bonsai tree. It has a swollen trunk at the base of the plant, and a texture that feels and looks like an elephant foot. Some people call the bonsai "elephant's foot" for this reason. The reason the trunk is swollen is because it is used for water storage during a drought. The bonsai can go weeks without water in the wild for this reason. Keeping a ponytail bonsai indoors is ideal because it's easy to care for and pretty. At maturity, the plant reaches a height of 14 inches. Prune ponytail palm bonsai to retain its shape and keep it healthy.

Step 1

Prune ponytail palm trees any time of year. You don't need to wait until the dormant, non-growing season.

Step 2

Trim the leaves on the top of the ponytail bonsai. Focus on those that are growing too long and clip off the ends. This will force the foliage to grow from the sides, creating the "ponytail" appearance.

Step 3

Remove leaves that are damaged, wilting or dead. Cut them off where they meet the center of the bonsai tree. They are sapping nutrients and energy from the rest of the plant.

Step 4

Prune ponytail palm bonsai plants as new growth begins. Sit eye-level to the plant and examine the appearance. Cut off the leaves that appear to be growing in a wayward fashion.

Step 5

Apply pruning paint to the surface of the cut if it appears to be brown or ragged. Just add a dab. The paint will stifle the browning and help the wound heal.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't remove all the new growth from a ponytail bonsai at one time.

Things You'll Need

  • Bonsai shears (Satsuki shears)
  • Pruning paint


  • Bonsai Gardener: Ponytail Palm (Beaucamea recurvata)
  • JoeBonsai: Ponytail Palm Bonsai Care
Keywords: ponytail palm, prune bonsai, prune ponytail palm

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.