I'm not sure what this plant is but I've had it for for 3-4 years. I've watered it about twice monthly and it's right by a giant window. For the last month, the branches have been getting weaker and more droopy.

Please help me identify this plant so I can help it heal! ponytail palm


Yes, Rosie is correct this plant is a Ponytail Palm or Beaucarnea recurvata and also known as Nolina recurvata.

This plant is not a palm tree at all and is native to Mexico where it thrives in full sun and low water requirements.

  • stores water in the bulbous trunk
  • grows better when pot bound
  • does not flower when grown indoors
  • can be attacked by scale, false scale, mealy bug and thrip but this is rare
  • slow grower

If this were my plant I would do the following:

  • move to the highest light area possible
  • cut all the stems back leaving a few inches from the main trunk (they are dying anyway)
  • do not water until new buds are visible from where it is cut back. This could take months
  • after new growth is started in the spring consider down potting a few sizes to a clay pot with a more freely draining soil (tropical plant mix with more perlite or vermiculite should do)
  • examine the underside of the leaves for brown bumps (scale) or cottony tufts (mealybug) and apply 5 ml soap to 1 litre of water only if found

I think it may be the ponytail palm or elephant Palm

Nolina recurvata. The base of the 'trunk' being a water store, so doesn't need watering very regularly. The leaves feel slightly abrasive on the edges and can be anything up to several feet in length. Can be quite a statement in the right setting. I don't know if you could take one of the side branches off as a cutting and start again with that one so it grows straight , rather than as a clump which may become lopsided. There are many others on this site who would be able to advise better than me.

  • Stop watering and allow it to dry out completely before watering again and don't let it stand in water as I think this is more of an arid loving plant. – user13638 Jan 15 '16 at 22:45

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