How To Prune A Ponytail Palm Plant with Simple Steps

Written by Ivy

Feb 01 2023

How To Prune A Ponytail Palm Plant with Simple Steps

A long-lasting succulent that thrives in low-maintenance indoor settings is the ponytail palm, also known as elephant's foot.

However, untrimmed thick clusters of leaves may restrict their growth, giving the plant a sickly appearance.

In order to keep the plant healthy, you should occasionally remove any leaves that are dead, decomposing, or infected.

Throughout the growing season, prune the ponytail palm to maintain its distinctive palm tree appearance by removing pest-infested leaves, dead or decaying foliage, and top leaves.

Additionally, suckers that might spread throughout the same growing season can be cut off from the plant's base.

Learn how to prune your ponytail palm without doing serious harm by reading on.

Can You Trim Ponytail Palm?


To be clear, pruning is not the same as trimming. Generally speaking, trimming refers to the removal of the tips of leaves and can be accomplished with shears. To rejuvenate or restore a plant, pruning is done with the goal of removing the woody base material.

The ends of the ponytail palm leaves often turn dark and are sensitive to injury. To maintain the plant's aesthetic, cutting back ponytail palm leaves is simple. Just the discolored portions can be removed using good, sharp scissors or yard snips.

Should I Prune the Ponytail Palm?

To remain thriving, attractive, and healthy, almost all houseplants require sporadic or seasonal pruning. Ponytail Palm is not any different!

Although not a real Palm tree but an Asparagaceae species that include It benefits from sporadic pruning throughout the growing season, like Hyacinth, Asparagus, and Spider plant.

Ponytail Palm can be pruned at any time of the year, but because it is still active during the growing season (spring through fall), pruning during that time is less likely to cause damage.

Pruning removes dead and dying branches, foliage, and stubs to make room for new growth and provide protection from harm.

Make sure to prune the top of the plant to encourage the foliage to grow downward so that it resembles a palm tree.

A plant that appears healthy will also help prevent animal and pest infestation and keep its natural palm-like shape.

How to Prune Ponytail Palm?

In order to reduce the amount of tangled leaves on a mature plant with thick foliage, regular pruning is necessary, whereas a young plant would benefit from minimal pruning.

However, pruning a Ponytail Palm is fairly easy and can be completed in a few short steps.

To easily inspect the top leaves, position your Ponytail Palm at eye level.

Step 1: Inspect the Plant

  • Look for yellow, brown, and decayed leaves first.
  • Next, check the undersides of the leaves for pest infestation and eggs. Spider mite infestation may be indicated by a web-like substance.
  • The leaves and caudex (the base of the plant) of some disease-infected Ponytail Palms will be yellow.

Step 2: Pruning the Leaves

  • Trimming off the wilting, browning, and decaying leaves should be your first priority.
  • To maintain the leaf's sharp-end appearance, make sure to cut the leaf off on a diagonal.
  • Make each cut at a 45-degree angle so that the water does not collect, promoting diseases.
  • Trim the top of the leaf cluster next by removing two-thirds of the growth at the top, which promotes vigorous growth on the sides.
  • You can trim the longer leaves to give them the distinctive appearance of a palm leaf as they grow longer.
  • Consider tilting the container downward every few months to see if the plant is growing particularly well on one side if this is the case.

Step 3: Remove Suckers

Suckers need to be eliminated because they rob plants of vital nutrients.

  • To remove them, carefully grab them with your thumb and index finger.
  • If not, trim the sucker close to the plant using a pair of sharp pruning shears.
  • Put them in a new pot for propagation or discard them. (Read More: How to Propagate Ponytail Palm)

Tip to Remove the Palm from a Ponytail

Trimming a plant's foliage is the process of pruning, and cutters are frequently used for this task. On the other hand, pruning frequently refers to the removal of a plant's root and woody components in order to revive or repair it.

ponytail palm tree foliage is easily damaged, and the ends of the foliage can become dark or black. Because it is so easy to take out, the ponytail palm shrub looks even more attractive. Using precise clippers or trimming shears, only trim the foliage's discolored areas.


Maintenance and After-Care of Pruned Ponytail Palm

Ponytail is a succulent plant that does not require frequent watering or repotting and thrives in a cramped growing environment.

Here are some things to think about for the plant's routine upkeep and subsequent care.

1. Adequate Sunlight and Proper Location

Consider keeping your Ponytail Palm in a sunny area with enough indirect sunlight as direct sunlight will cause a succulent to dry out quickly.

They should be kept a few feet away from the south-facing window and require about six hours of direct sunlight each day.

If your area doesn't get enough sunlight, keep inside under LED grow lights with the right wavelength. (Read More: How Much Light Does Ponytail Palm Need)

2. Ideal Temperature

Ponytail Palms flourish in typical indoor conditions, including room temperature and low to moderate humidity levels.

During the growing season, keep the temperature warm (60 to 80 °F) and in the winter, a little softer (50 to 55 °F).

To encourage quick healing of freshly cut leaves, keep them close to a window with indirect sunlight.

3. Fast-draining Succulent Potting Mix

If you repot your plant during or after pruning, this is applicable.

Sandier soil and quick-draining soil are both preferable because of their high organic content. Ponytail Palm may be able to grow in the cacti and succulent potting soil. (Read More: How Big Do Ponytail Palms Get)

If you prefer not to use a commercial succulent mix, you can make your own at home by combining coarse sand, perlite or pumice, and regular potting soil.

4. Occasional Watering

To help the soil transfer nutrients to the pruned sections, a freshly pruned Ponytail Palm would need a little moisture.

Overwatering is not fun for a succulent. 2/3 of the soil should dry out between waterings after the initial watering.

If not, wait 14–21 days or until the soil feels dry or crumbly before watering your indoor plant.

Similarly, reduce watering during the winter at least once or twice to avoid soggy soil.

Read More: 

5. Monthly Fertilization

After pruning, especially if done during the growing season, it will be a good idea to fertilize the plant to encourage new growth.

In the spring and summer, fertilize your Ponytail Palm once or twice a month; however, if you pruned the plant in the early winter, cut back on the fertilizer.

Reduce fertilization in the fall and winter or whenever you notice brown leaf tips, which indicate a plant that has experienced fertilizer stress. (Read More: Why Does My Ponytail Palm Have Brown Tips)


6. Repotting Ponytail Palm

When the plant's roots have significantly expanded, preferably in the early spring, only think about repotting. They can last for many years, though, before needing to be replanted in a bigger container.

When repotting, pick a container that is at least an inch bigger than the old one. (Read More: How to Repot Ponytail Palm)

7. Avoid Winter Stress

When exposed to cold drafts, a recently pruned Ponytail Palm is susceptible to damage. Bring your plant inside and reduce all other factors except for the warm temperature and lighting.

Low light levels and the lowering temperature could quickly put the plant into shock, resulting in droopy and drying foliage.

Alternately, use the proper grow lights to make up for the absence of sunlight.


You can prune a Ponytail Palm by removing the top leaves with sharp pruning shears. The plant will be forced to grow downward into the form of a ponytail as a result.

Ponytail palms require incredibly little maintenance in the way of trimming or pruning, making them very simple to take care of.

These adaptable plants can be kept looking good and will prevent the plant from growing taller than it already is with the proper trimming.

The most difficult part of trimming them is getting the trimmed end's shape just right.

Slowly trimming will help you achieve nice, even trims that prevent the leaf from appearing boxy or squared off.


Is It Possible for Ponytail Palms to Grow in Direct Sunlight?

Your ponytail palm prefers warm, ambient light because direct sunlight can burn the foliage.

Can Ponytail Palms Survive for a Long Time?

It has been reported that ponytail palm trees can live for hundreds of years. You can be sure that your ponytail palm will last a very long time, and it's even possible that it will outlive you.

Will the Leaves of the Ponytail Palm Regrow?

Fresh shoots will eventually appear right under the clipped tip of a broken or severed ponytail palm stem, but it will take a lot of time.

Is It Necessary to Trim a Ponytail Palm?

Since ponytail palms grow excruciatingly slowly, pruning should be kept to a minimum once they are established.

Can the Ponytail Palm Foliage Regrow?

Although the broken piece is permanently lost, the tree may live and continue to grow.

Could You Clip and Replant a Ponytail Palm?

Yes, it is your ponytail palm tree's self-propagation technique.

Can I Trim My Ponytail Palm's Brown Edges Off?

The whole brown leaves should be cut off with a pair of trimming shears because they may hardly ever turn green again.

This allows your ponytail Palm to concentrate its resources on new, healthy growth.

What Height Would a Ponytail Palm Reach?

Ponytail Palms would not grow taller beyond 20 feet. Ponytail palms have a caudex that grows from the base and is a 7-foot-long, broad, pale brown branching root.