How Can I Make My Ponytail Palms Grow Taller & Faster?

Written by Ivy

Feb 01 2023

How Can I Make My Ponytail Palms Grow Taller & Faster?

The ponytail palm is a cute plant with a low maintenance requirement thanks to its bulbous trunk, cascading ponytail of leaves, and endearing proportions. It is understandable why the ponytail palm is a preferred indoor plant because it is a slow-grower and is said to have a lifespan of several decades or even centuries. Here's how to make ponytail palms grow taller & faster if you're sure you need one for yourself.

About the Ponytail Palm

If you want to promote ponytail palm to grow taller, you can repot your bonsai ponytail palm in a bigger pot. Ponytail palms are slow-growing houseplants that shouldn't need pruning because of this.

Ponytail palms are more closely related to lilies than to palms, despite their name, so don't be fooled by it. They require the same level of care as a cactus or succulent. It might be less confusing to continue using the scientific name Beaucarnea recurvata for this native of southeastern Mexico, or one of its other common names, elephant-foot plant or bottle plant.

Ponytail palms are frequently grown as bonsai specimens even though they can grow to a height of 20 feet or more outdoors. When grown outdoors, they could have summer flower stalks. But they won't likely flower or grow much taller than 3 feet indoors under normal conditions.

The ponytail palm is not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses, if you happen to keep any of those in your home, according to the ASPCA.

How to Make My Ponytail Palms Grow Taller & Faster

Ponytail palms thrive in conditions that are above 45°F (7°C) at night and either full sun or bright indirect light. Although it prefers full sun, this tolerant plant can tolerate lower light levels; it will simply grow more slowly. Ponytail palms are desert natives, so they don't require a lot of humidity. However, placing them close to a draft or vent is not a good idea because it could cause the foliage to dry out. (Read More: How Much Light Does Ponytail Palm Need)

When the nighttime lows drop into the 40s, bring your indoor ponytail palm back inside. Your indoor ponytail palm may enjoy a summertime vacation outside in the sun.

Care and Planting

When caring for this plant, treat it like a cactus or succulent by planting it in cactus or succulent soil in a drainage-compatible container. The browning of the leaf margins on this plant might tempt you to cut them off.

In the winter, fertilize with a cactus fertilizer once a month. In the spring, when new growth begins to show, fertilize once to twice a week for the duration of the growing season in the spring and summer.

Watering the Ponytail Palm

Every two weeks is a good rule of thumb, but these intervals can even extend to a month. Let the soil completely dry out in between waterings. When watering ponytail palms, soak the soil until water begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.

Never allow it to sit in water; this rule is true for almost all indoor plants. You can usually err on the side of underwatering your ponytail palm because of its ability to store water in its bulbous trunk, but dried-out, brown leaves and/or a shriveled trunk will let you know that you're not giving it enough water. You're probably overwatering if the leaves are yellow or the trunk is mushy.

The majority of this plant's issues are caused by overwatering, but it can occasionally be plagued by pests like mealybugs, scale, or spider mites, which are dealt with by applying a systemic insecticide.

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Propagating the Ponytail Palm

Ponytail palms can be propagated from seed, but a more practical way to propagate them is to wait for a plant to produce a "pup," which you can eventually separate from the parent plant. Wait until it starts to grow roots before using a clean knife to separate it from the parent and place it in its own pot. Ensure that the soil is consistently moist so that the young plant can continue to grow its own root system and receive adequate water. (Read More: How to Propagate Ponytail Palm)


What Effect Ponytail Palms Growth Speed

Container Influence

Ponytail palms are excellent candidates for bonsai cultivation because of their slow natural growth. Its final size is frequently determined by its container. For instance, a small pot prevents the tree's roots from spreading for support and anchorage. The ponytail palm therefore continues to be small. Its potting soil shouldn't retain moisture for too long or the succulent risk die-back and stunted growth. Use a potting mixture made from cacti to avoid root rot and soggy soil. To keep a ponytail palm's roots nourished and healthy, a 2-to-1-to-1 ratio of loam, peat moss, and sand works well as a potting mix.

Indoor Environment

A bonsai ponytail palm needs a suitable location for normal photosynthesis, or energy production, even though it won't grow very tall. Put it in a space with lots of light, like one with a south-facing window. Only if the soil of the succulent is dry at the end of each two-week period should you water it. Before you water the soil, it needs to be dry. The tree's bloated base serves as a reservoir for water. Stunted growth and decay are frequently the results of overwatering. The temperature in the tree's room should be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring, summer, and fall, but it can fall as low as 50 degrees in the winter. Ponytail palms are more susceptible to inadequate watering indoors than they are to sharp temperature changes.

Pruning Techniques

You can keep your bonsai ponytail palm from looking messy by periodically pruning it. The indoor plant is always able to be pruned because it is not affected by extreme cold or heat. As new leaves sprout along the plant's trunk, trim the succulent's top with pruning shears to get rid of any unwanted growth. Each time you prune, only a portion of the new growth should be removed. The tree won't be able to properly photosynthesize or maintain a healthy appearance if all of the new growth is pruned at once. Pruning has the added benefit of controlling size, which helps the bonsai remain compact over time. (Read More: How To Prune A Ponytail Palm Plant)


If you want to encourage the growth of your bonsai ponytail palm's height, repot it in a bigger container. Its roots can spread and get access to more oxygen, moisture, and nutrients that they need to grow in the larger environment. For the best results, repot your bonsai in the spring or summer when the sun is most intense. The sun will help the tree recover from the stress of the transplant. Keep the tree's repottings moderate, though. It won't be harmed by being transferred to a new pot every two years. (Read More: How to Repot Ponytail Palm)


5 Tips to Grow Ponytail Palm Outdoors

The USDA Hardiness Zones 9–12 are the best gardening zones for beginning to grow ponytail palms outdoors. A ponytail palm is cold-resistant, but to what extent? If the plant is mature, it can endure temperatures as low as 15°F for brief periods of time.

A ponytail palm tree's enormous trunk functions exactly like a camel's hump, i.e., it stores water and supplies moisture to the stems and leaves whenever needed. This is an adaptation for hot, dry climates where rain is erratic and other plants would wilt and turn brown.  (Read More: Why Does My Ponytail Palm Have Brown Tips)

Here are the 5 quick tips for outdoor cultivation and care of these gorgeous plants – but don't cut this short – read the full article for in-depth explanations:

  1. Water it thoroughly, wait for the soil to dry between watering turns
  2. Keep it in a bright and sunny area
  3. Fertilize it once a year with a 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer
  4. Prevent pests and diseases by applying neem oil or an insecticidal soap on the leaves
  5. Prune the browning leaves

Conclusion: Get Taller Ponytail Palms

You can move your ponytail palm outside during the summer to give it a break from the house and help it grow taller. Put it somewhere safe, like a porch or patio close to the house, and give it a few days to adjust. Move it to an outdoor location with indirect light if needed after that. (Outdoor light is much stronger than indoor light and, at its brightest, can harm plants that are accustomed to growing inside.)