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Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees Includes ponytail palms, Madagascar palms and desert roses (NB: these aren't true palms or roses!)

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Old April 23rd, 2007, 02:28 PM
Patrick1 Patrick1 is offline
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Ponytail Palm problem

I recently purchased a 3ft ponytail palm. The ends are turning brown. I live in FL and have the plant located by the patio window. It receives indirect light. Is this a watering issue...too much / too little? Is it a light issue? Please someone reply...her name is Polly (I know, I know), but I don't want her to die...

Last edited by Patrick1; April 24th, 2007 at 01:17 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2007, 12:26 AM
Stone Woman Stone Woman is offline
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Re: Ponytail Palm problem

I think it's a light issue. Mine gets direct irridesent light in a planter (you know, a tube light made especially for plants) for 8 to 10 hours a day. I hear it should get at least 4 hours a day direct natual light. And it should dry out in between waterings. Being that mine is in an enclosed tererrirum, I water it about once a month.

The ends of mine are turning brown too, but my problem is different. When I got it, it was cut at the top and it was about 1 foot tall. They had sealed the top with some black stuff on the top so it wouldn't grown from the top any longer, but it does have about 5 or 6 little perfectly little green shoots. I finally got the nerve to repot it, as it looked as if it was supposed to look like it was supoosed to be a bonsia. I cut back the brown spots, but now I wonder if I can cut the little shoots off and replant them someone. Anyway anyone can help me and or Patrick1? Thanks!
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Old April 25th, 2007, 02:35 AM
Rima Rima is offline
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Re: Ponytail Palm problem

Do let most of the soil get dry between waterings rather than the reverse.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:24 AM
markinwestmich markinwestmich is offline
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Re: Ponytail Palm problem

This link should help. http://www.floridata.com/ref/B/beau_rec.cfm
As will this one. http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms...ea-rec-sub.asp

Drying/browning of the leaf tips on the lower foliage is totally normal for this plant. The browning/drying will creep up the individual leaves, and the leaf will drop off. It will be replaced at the top of the plant with fresh, new foliage.

If you are having problems with yellowing or browning of the tips of the foliage on relatively new leaves, then I would suspect salt damage from fertilizer. One, these plants thrive on a relatively nutrient deficient soil in their native environment. Two, salt damage can be worsened by trying to keep the soil a little moist. As mentioned earlier, let the soil dry out totally, then give it a good soak, even if it means taking it outside or moving it to a sink basin, shower stall, or tub. This will leach the excess salts from the soil.

Although, this popular plant is often sold as an "indoor tropical", it is anything but. Beaucarnea recurvata is a tough, desert dweller with a water-storing caudex at the base of the plant. They are often potted in moist, loamy soil then sold as a "palm". They are not palms. They need to be potted in a course mix of grit that shouldn't stay wet for any more than a day or two.

If you have any more issues/questions. We now have a "Caudiciform and Pachycaul Tree" forum. This is a "caudiciform" plant by virtue of its caudex. We also have a culture guide posted within the forum.
Who says you can't grow desert plants in Michigan?
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Old April 26th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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Daniel Mosquin Daniel Mosquin is offline
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Re: Ponytail Palm problem

(moved to caudiciform forum)
Please consider giving to UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, to support its mission of excellence in plant research, education and conservation.

Daniel Mosquin
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UBC Botanical Garden | BC Flora | John Davidson
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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:58 AM
Stone Woman Stone Woman is offline
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Re: Ponytail Palm problem

Highly educational links Mark, and I have learned quite a bit about my little plant. I appreciate your time and trouble in helping me keep it alive. Now it'll be healthier than it was too, as now I know what to and what not to do. My best, Loralyn

Last edited by Daniel Mosquin; April 26th, 2007 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Changed name from Daniel to Mark, to give credit where credit is due!
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