Outdoor Ponytail Palm Care: Can You Plant Ponytail Palms Outside

Large Outdoor Ponytail Palm Tree
outdoor ponytail palm
(Image credit: emkaplin)

Ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) are distinctive plants that you are not likely to confuse with any other small trees in your garden. Slow growers, these palms have swollen trunk bases that taper. They are best known for their long, slender cascading leaves that are arranged in the same way as a pony’s tail. Growing ponytail palm outdoors is possible in warmer climates and caring for ponytail palm outdoors is not difficult. Read on for more information about how to grow a ponytail palm outside.

Can You Plant Ponytail Palms Outside?

If you live in a very warm climate like that found in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, growing ponytail palm outdoors is entirely feasible. They can grow to 30 feet (9 m.) tall, but rarely do as houseplants. Plant them as small, unusual specimen trees or else in containers on the patio. If you start a ponytail palm indoors and decide to move it to a permanent outdoor location, be patient and take your time. Ponytail palm plant care in this circumstance dictates that the plant be exposed to the increased light and altered temperature gradually, over a number of days or weeks.

How to Grow a Ponytail Palm Outside

Caring for ponytail palm outdoors requires a knowledge of ponytail palm plant care. These lovely little trees thrive in full sun with generous but infrequent irrigation. Overwatering is a serious problem for ponytail palms grown as houseplants. Remember that the common name of this plant is slightly misleading. The ponytail palm is not a palm at all but related to the water-sparing yucca family. Expect this plant to store water in its swollen trunk base to help it through dry, hot weather. Growing ponytail palm outdoors is only possible in well-drained soils, since the plant develops root rot in wet earth. On the other hand, the plant accepts most soil types, including sandy and loamy. Even with the best ponytail palm plant care, you will have to wait a long time for this tree to branch. If you are hoping to see the showy flower clusters, you may have to wait even longer. They only grow on established trees.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.