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How to Take Care of Ponytail Plants

By Pamela Gardapee ; Updated September 21, 2017
The ponytail plant's leaves grow out of the central bulb.

The ponytail plant is known by its Latin name, Beaucarnea recurvata, or its common name, elephant's foot and originated in Mexico. It is a type of succulent, and you should keep it as a houseplant in most climates. The plant has a large round ball that protrudes from the soil about an inch. The green leaves grow out of the bulb and can reach heights up to 20 feet, but the indoor plant grows slowly.

Keep the soil moist. The plant should be drenched when it is slightly dry, but still moist. Place the container in a drainage tray, so excess water can drain out of the container. Empty the excess water out of the drainage tray after the water has finished draining. During the winter, allow the soil to dry thoroughly between waterings.

Place the ponytail plant in a west or south window where it will have full and direct sunlight. The plant thrives in full sunlight, but will tolerate an east window as long as it gets at least four hours of sunlight.

Keep the plant in a room or area where the temperatures are between 40 and 65 degrees F. Home temperatures will undoubtedly be a little higher in the summer, but then the plant will need more water. The elephant's foot needs a place with low humidity.

Fertilize the plant with a 10-10-10 (nitrogen, phosphates, potassium) fertilizer once in July and once in April. Use a water-soluble fertilizer, not slow-release granules.


Things You Will Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Drainage tray


  • The ponytail plant likes to be root bound, so re-pot only when necessary.
  • During the summer, you can place the ponytail outside in the bright sun, but keep the soil moist.

About the Author


Pamela Gardapee is a writer with more than seven years experience writing Web content. Being functional in finances, home projects and computers has allowed Gardapee to give her readers valuable information. She studied accounting, computers and writing before offering her tax, computer and writing services to others.