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How Do I Know When to Water Ponytail Palm?

The rosettes of long, leathery leaves of Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) wither and turn yellow when not getting enough water.

Generally, Ponytail palm plants should be watered once in two weeks. Otherwise, allow the top two inches to dry before fetching them chemical-free or rainwater. Also, employ moisture to know the ideal time to water the Ponytail palm.

But you also need to understand what changes your Ponytail palm watering needs.

Thus, read on to learn ideal ways to water Ponytail palm.

How Often Do You Water a Ponytail Palm?

The Ponytail palm is a succulent that stores water in its trunks, making them a drought-tolerant plant.

However, they won’t survive an extended period of dry, arid conditions like the aroid, such as the Peace lily plant.

Therefore, water your Ponytail palm plant after allowing the top 2 or 3 inches of soil becomes dry. Otherwise, once a week of watering in summer will also suffice.

But do not stick with one hard and fast watering rule as it can vary depending upon other physical parameters.

Water your Ponytail palm immediately if you see dry, crispy, droopy leaves with dry compost and soil.

young ponytail palm on pot
Inspect the Ponytail palm trunk size and texture. If it is wrinkled, it might be time to water them.

Additionally, like Guiana Chestnut, Ponytail palm brown tips result from overwatering and underwatering.

Here are a few other ways to know how and when your Ponytail palm plant needs to be watered.

  • Poke chopsticks 2-3 inches deep into the soil.
  • If there is no moisture, proceed to water.
  • Weigh the pot weight, and if it feels lighter, water them.
  • Invest in a moisture meter and measure soil moisture before fetching water.
  • Inspect the Ponytail palm bulb. If it appears deflated or wrinkled, water them.

How to Save Underwatered Ponytail Palm?

Here is a step-by-step guide to save a severely underwatered Ponytail palm.

  • Place the Ponytail palm plant in the sink filled with room-temperature water.
  • Let the plant soak in water till bubbles stop forming.
  • Remove the plant from the sink and let out excess water via drain holes.
  • Ensure the soil is evenly damp and let the plant rest.
  • Using sterilized pruners, snip off any brown, completely dried-out, damaged leaves.

Also, place the plant in subtle light protected from direct sunlight.

Within an hour or two, your Ponytail palm will be back hydrated.

Signs You May Be Overwatering Your Ponytail Palm

A small survey at PlantsCraze shows most gardeners tend to overwater their Ponytail palms despite the weekly watering rule.

Thus, look for these signs to tell whether you are overwatering them and take action accordingly.

  • Leaf tips begin turning yellow and juvenile leaves may turn completely yellow.
  • The root begins to rot and will always appear discolored and drenched.
  • The bulb may appear soft and squishy and ultimately begins to rot.
  • White or grayish mold forms on top of the soil.
  • A foul smell is coming off the plant pot.

If you notice these signs, immediately repot the plant after snipping off rotten, decayed parts of the plant.

Also, apply fungicides to the root ends to prevent further spreading.

While repotting, use a fresh potting mix containing sand, perlite, and potting soil enriched with organic manure.

The Best Watering Technique for Ponytail Palm

Here are some ideal watering approaches to water your Ponytail palm.

Watering TechniquesSpecification
Rainfall MethodRainfall water is ideal with no harmful chemicals.

Collect rainwater or let the plant enjoy direct rainfall.

But do not let your Ponytail palm sit for too long in water.
Watering CanUse distilled water

Soak the Bonsai till water oozes out from drain holes

Use moisture meter before watering.
Bottom WateringFill in the saucer and place the plant pot on top.

Replace the water every now and then.

Overhead water occasionally to wash off salt build ups.

Factors that Impact Watering Ponytail Palm

The watering needs of Ponytail palm vary with varying parameters like temperature, humidity, climate, and many more.

Thus, here are the factors that influence watering Ponytail palms.

1. Location (Indoor Vs. Outdoor)

Ponytail palm plants outdoors require more water due to sunlight, heat, and low humidity.

But indoor ones may require less water as the soil dries slowly due to controlled environmental conditions.

Therefore, adjust your watering habit and water your outdoor ones more than indoor Ponytail palm plants.

2. Temperature & Humidity

As temperature and humidity directly influence the transpiration rate, watering needs differ accordingly.

Generally, Ponytail palm thrives in temperatures ranging from 60-85°F with average humidity >40%.

The transpiration rate surges and dehydrates the plant during higher temperatures and low humidity levels.

So, your Ponytail palm requires comparatively more water in summer than in winter.

You can adjust the watering habit accordingly to meet the dehydration rate of Ponytail palm.

Water your Ponytail palm once every 1 to 2 weeks in summer and reduce it to once a month in winter.

3. Type of Potting Mix

Well-draining soil with low water retention can become quickly dry and require much faster watering.

However, potting mix with higher water retention can stay moist longer, requiring less frequent water.

Furthermore, succulents like Ponytail Palm despise having wet feet. Thus, aim for moderate water-retentive soil for your Ponytail palm to ensure problem-free watering.

4. Pot Size & Type

Another factor that influences water needs is pot size and type.

Generally, bigger pots can hold more soil, meaning more water retention and long drying time.

potted ponytail palm
Clay or terracotta pots have small pores that allow excess water out via transpiration and dries more quickly than plastic pots.

Moreover, terracotta or clay pots facilitate evaporation, which plastic pots do not, speeding up the drying process.

Therefore, you might need to water small, terracotta, or clay-potted Ponytail palms more often than small, plastic ones.

Should you Mist Ponytail Palms?

Misting the Ponytail palm leaves can help the plant stay clean. Furthermore, if the humidity is low, misting can help the plant.

Therefore, you can use a spray bottle to mist your Ponytail palms.

However, too much misting is not suitable for the plant. Ponytail palms are succulents and require minimum water.

You can mist the Ponytail palms once a week during morning hours using spray bottles.

But avoid misting leaves too much, causing wet leaves for too long, as they invite pests and fungal infections.

Final Thoughts

Aim to give the right amount of water by following a flexible watering routine to keep your Ponytail palm problem-free.

Remember to thoroughly water your Ponytail palm after applying fertilizer to reduce chemical burns.

However plant propagation can be done through seed, but propagation through pups is the best method.

On top of that, pruning assists the Ponytail palm plant to grow taller.

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