Newbie could use some help/advice with first "Ponytail Palm."

nephifofum(8a)August 22, 2012

I bought this plant from Walmart about 5 months ago. It came in a 3" plastic container. About a month ago, I decided to repot it and put it in a 6".

It's been doing well, and was growing quite rapidly. I left for a week's vacation, fully watering it before I left. Unfortunately (for the plant) I extended my vacation twice and ended up being gone two weeks instead of one. That definitely killed several leaves and the plant as a whole just seems more droopy.

Anyway, as the attached photo shows, I have several small "bulbs" close together. This is how it came. My questions:

1. How does my soil level look? Is it too high, covering more of the "bulbs" than should be, or is it too low, or just fine?

2. I'm guessing those individual bulbs will NOT fuse into one large bulb. What do I do regarding these multiple bulbs? Should they be separated? If so, should they each be put into their own pot, or should I leave them together but space them apart, maybe an inch or so? Or do I just keep them close together like that? The ponytail palms I've seen have always been a single, large "bulb," so I'm a bit confused.

Any help, tips, advice, comments will be greatly appreciated!!

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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

I would separate them and grow them as individual plants. Also, when you separate them and repot, I would try to amend the soil with perlite or more bark to make the soil drain faster. I bought a similar plant a few back, and here's what I've done with them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Don't sweat the small stuff....while not ideal, I've forgotten to water my "clump" of PT's several times and they only start to shrivel a little. Yes, some leaves may turn yellow, but a good drink always plumps them back up. PT's grow very slowly, so it is up to you whether you want to separate them or not, and no, they won't fuse into one giant bulb. When you repot, you should generally only move up one or two inches in pot size, but with the grouping you have there, I think you did ok. I agree with Whip in regards to the perlite though; I would make a 50/50 mix. You can repot again if you need to, you won't hurt the plant. I, personally, would plant them higher in the pot...they look to be much lower than the lip. You do have them adequately covered, so no worries there. You have a nice little collection.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 11:35PM
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One thing I can think of that would be of some assistance is to be mindful of how much you water in the winter. They will need a good bit less than in the spring/summer (as with any houseplant), but since they store water a bit more than say a peace lily (in their "bulbs"), they can easily rot if kept too wet in the winter. Trust me, I've killed a dozen or so already. >.Planto

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:05PM
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