enter image description here

My Ponytail Palm spends the warmer months outdoors and grew substantially this year. Unfortunately it is also growing very much to the side now, presumably because it was trying to find sunlight. I’m worried that repotting may damage it. I have it turned away from the sunlight in hopes it will straighten up. Any other tips? I see that it is growing a second head and trunk, and may eventually have a y-shape. Can it’s lopsidedness be related to that?

  • The soil got very dry and shrunk this summer after leaving it outside for a while. It made it easy to add new soil along the edges of the pot and shift the trunk to where it is roughly vertical now. Aug 18, 2020 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Plants grow towards the light. This one needs to be turned on a regular basis. Just a little nudge every week will do.

You could repot it straighter but that will still leave the large stem leaning.

These plants bud out nicely from old growth. Why not cut the leaning stem off and let the new one take over? Sure, it will be shorter for a while but straighter.

  • I, personally, like the last suggestion. It will never (well, not for a really long time, maybe) look "normal" now that it's been distorted. It looks like the pot is about half full of soil and plant. You might be able to pick the plant and rootball up and put more dirt in to straighten it up and provide more soil without disturbing the roots.
    – Tim Nevins
    Oct 16, 2018 at 20:30

I would take this chance to transplant into a slightly larger pot, using only plain cheap sterilized potting soil. You'll be able to straighten the bulb to allow the stem to be more upright and I wouldn't do any drastic uprighting Staking kind of makes a weaker plant.

I am seeing you have a covered porch out that front door. You could get a new sand cast concrete pot with drainage hole, make a cool base with 4 rotating wheels. Indoor plants if taken out of doors onto a shaded porch, no direct sun allowed, during the most stable part of the growing season are able to get more light for more photosynthesis and store more carbohydrates to last the winter...this is the secret to lush houseplants. A 'spa' to look fresh from the nursery all year long.

What have you used in this pot for soil? Did you put rock or gravel above the drain hole and beneath the soil? Very big no no. What is your watering technique? Fertilizer?

If the temperatures are stable take your plant out on that porch, no need for acclimatization as long as NO direct sun. Hose the entire plant down to wash off the dust and debris. Bring it back into the home WAY before any threat of frost or colder temperatures lower than 50 degrees F.

I take my house plants into the shower every other month, turn the cold water on and soak the plants and soil. Allow them to drain well then put them back in their normal spots. I only water when the pot and soil and plant feel substantially lighter that the weight after watering. Never every day especially indoors.

Your plant now has character. Grins! Start rotating the plant as you are doing. How to put this? You gave it a 180 degree turn, right? I'd make those turns 30 degrees each turn each week. Have you considered a real grow light above this plant?

Another thing you could do next year is force a bud to make a second 'balancing' trunk. Talk about that later?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.