What Is Pony Tail Palm?
Ponytail Palm (Sesbania spp.) is a tropical tree native to South America. It grows up to 15 feet tall and wide with large leaves that are often greenish purple or pinkish-purple in color. The fruit of this plant is called “palm” which is actually a type of berry. The fruit is a sweet, juicy treat that tastes like pineapple.
The name “ponytail” comes from the long hair that hangs down from the branches of this tree. These trees are usually found growing along roadsides and other open areas where they can get some sunlight during the day time.
They prefer moist soil but will tolerate dry conditions if provided with plenty of water.
How To Grow Ponytail Palm Tree Outside?
If you want to grow a ponytail palm tree outside then there are several things that you need to consider before planting it. First of all, make sure that your area is free of any thorny bushes or trees. Also, make sure that there isn’t too much shade on the ground around your new tree so that it doesn’t go into dormancy and die out. Finally, make sure that the soil is well drained because this plant needs lots of moisture to thrive.
If you are planting this tree in the ground then you should start out with a sapling that is approximately 6 inches tall. Dig a hole that is about one and a half times as wide as the rootball and just as deep.
Once you have done this, gently place the tree into the hole. At this point, you will need to add a few inches of mulch over the rootball and spread it out over the base of the tree.
As far as watering is concerned, you will need to do this when the top few inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Never let the soil become rock hard or else the roots will not be able to take in water.
Fertilize during the spring and summer with a good quality fertilizer. Apply this according to the instructions on the packaging.
As far as sunlight is concerned, ponytail palms do best in areas that receive full sun all day long. If you can find a spot like this then your tree will probably be very happy there.
However, if you cannot find such a location then don’t worry because ponytail palms can also grow in areas that only receive partial sun all day long. If you have an area that receives only a few hours of sunlight per day then your tree will probably grow leaves that are a grayish green in color instead of the traditional green color.
How To Care For Ponytail Palms?
The most important thing to know about caring for ponytail palm trees is how to water them. Other than this, just make sure that they don’t dry out and they should be okay. As far as the watering goes, it is usually better to water a little bit every day rather than to water a lot every few days. When watering, make sure that you don’t water too much because this can cause the roots to rot and they will subsequently die.
In terms of sun exposure, these palms need at least 4 or 5 hours of direct sunlight in order to stay healthy. If they do not receive enough direct sunlight then their leaves will turn a grayish green color.
If this happens then you can place the palm in a location that receives more direct sunlight.
It is also important to mention that these palms are very sensitive to cold temperatures. If the temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit then the palms will start to go into dormancy and will not sprout anymore leaves.
They can sometimes recover from this however it is best to move the trees into a location where they will be warmer such as a garage or perhaps inside your home if you have space. If you have more than one ponytail palm tree then it is best to just leave them outside because bringing them inside can cause them to go into shock which can sometimes lead to their death.
Pruning Ponytail Palms
Pruning ponytail palms is not really necessary because they have such an unusual growth pattern. In other words, they practically prune themselves.
However, if you would like to trim the tree yourself then you should be extra careful when doing so because this tree has sharp spikes on the edges of its leaves. If you do end up cutting yourself then make sure that you treat the wound right away to prevent infection.
These trees are not usually affected by bugs and disease but they can develop brown patches on their leaves if they are under watered. Other than this, ponytail palms are extremely easy to care for as long as you repot them every few years, which is not really necessary unless the tree is completely pot-bound.
All in all, ponytail palms are very durable and can even survive in less than ideal conditions provided that they have some sun exposure.
Ponytail palms are often overlooked by most people when it comes to choosing a palm for their landscape. This is really too bad because they are such a unique tree with very distinct features.
They can be grown outdoors as well as indoors and they can even grow in very low light conditions. In fact, this is one of the more hardy palm trees that you can find and there are not many problems that these trees have ever faced over the years. The growth pattern that they have is very attractive and they also have a beautiful trunk. If you are looking for a palm tree for your home, apartment, or office then you should seriously consider the ponytail palm.
Sources & references used in this article:
Interior Plants: Selection and Care by E Davison – 1998 – repository.arizona.edu
Growing indoor plants with success by SV Pennisi – 2009 – athenaeum.libs.uga.edu
The Complete Guide to Growing Windowsill Plants: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply by DM Murphy, AW Duea – 2011 – books.google.com
Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs by F Richardson – 2012 – books.google.com