Red Ponytail, Guatemala Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea guatemalensis)
This Pony Tail Palm is native to the dry regions of Guatemala. Because it has need for little water or attention this is an excellent plant for anyone who has never had houseplants before or those who may have failed with more demanding plants in the past. Red Pony Tail is not a true palm, but it has a sculptural, palm-like form that adds a wonderful decorator touch to any room.
A carefree houseplant for a sunny location or in a container outdoors during warm weather.
Fertilize regularly for best display.
Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings.
Basic Care Summary
Water thoroughly but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.
Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.
Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Remove the plant from its pot or pack. If plants are in a pack, gently squeeze the outside of the individual plant cell while tipping container to the side. If plant doesn’t loosen, continue pressing on the outside of the container while gently grasping the base of the plant and tugging carefully so as not to crush or break the stem until the plant is released. If the plant is in a pot, gently grasp the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.
Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start.
Plan ahead for plants that get tall and require staking or support cages. It’s best to install cages at planting time, before the foliage gets bushy. Vining plants require vertical space to grow, so provide a small trellis that allows the plant to grow freely and spread.
Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.
Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.
Most container plants can be pruned freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Keeping the foliage trimmed also keeps the plants looking neat and tidy, encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed to encourage blooming (such as 5-10-5).
Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.
Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.
|Height Metric Range||0.6-1.5m|
|Space Metric Range||0.3-0.9m|
|Available Colors||Grown for foliage|
|Companion Plants||Cactus, Kalanchoe, Sansevieria|
|Lowest Temperature||50° to 80°F|
|Lowest Temperature Metric||10° to 27°C|
|Bloom Time||Grown for foliage|
|Plant Light||Bright Light|
|Hardiness Zone||11, 12|