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The Ponytail palm is a unique landscape plant that slowly grows from small container sizes to spectacular specimens with large swollen bases, several branches and heights ranging 12-25 ft. tall. The foliage is comprised of 3-5 ft. long weeping strap-like leaves, producing a 'Dr. Seuss'- type character. Hundreds of creamy-white flowers make a very showy display on tall panicles in late spring; these flowers are replaced by showy golden brown seed bracts as they mature.

The Ponytail palm comes from warm and dry regions of southeast Mexico and is highly adapted to garden conditions in warm, sunny exposures on well-drained soils in the Inland Empire. It can store moisture from winter rains in its swollen base and endure long summers without supplemental water. It is highly successful as a container plant and focal accent plant in dry wash and southwestern style gardens.

Water Needs

The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule for the Ponytail palm when grown in the Inland Empire. Young plants will benefit from low amounts of supplemental water during the summer to enable faster growth; mature plants can often go year to year upon the moisture from winter rains. Monthly summer watering is recommended when grown in containers.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 12 ft. - 25 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 15 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Cream
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Foliage accent plant, Flowering accent plant


Plant in spring. Allow a large planting space to accommodate the dramatically massive swollen lower trunk to develop. Do not plant near the edge of hardscape, walks, driveways, concrete patios, etc. for this reason. No significant pruning is needing except for removing dead older leaves and spent flower clusters (D).



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