Pony tail palm question

luvidaho_2010(5/6)October 30, 2011

I found this pony tail palm the other day. I was going to separate the two plants and put them in their own pots. When I pulled them out of the pot there is a huge root ball, now I am concerned that I might kill one or both of them if I try to separate them. Also, the root ball is much taller than the pots I planned to use so can I trim the bottom roots off to make the bulbs shorter? Advise please.

Thanks, Tami

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zzackey(8b GA)

I wouldn't trim the roots any. Just pull them apart gently. You will have some roots break off, but that is normal. I think they will be happier apart. I have seen them left alone. What happens is the bottom parts mesh together and become one. Your rootball looks normal to me and quite healthy.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 7:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Looks very root-bound, and would benefit from separation and root-pruning.
I just re-potted a guatamalense yesterday, removed soil and some lower roots, and put into a bonsai pot.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 9:46AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I personally prefer the appearance of the two together rather than separated. I've three in one clump and they are among my favorite houseplants. Just my thing.

This is a Beaucamea isn't it?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 1:54PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If you want to separate those two, use a shovel to chop them apart, or a sharp knife and slice. I agree that it is rootbound. I would remove (sever) the bottom half of the root ball, then fluff the soil out of the remaining roots, and chop any that are more than 3-4 inches long.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 4:50PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I guess I was never taught to cut the roots except on a spider plant. It's called Beaucarnea Recurvata.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 6:13PM
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It has not been my experience that this cares what you do with its roots, at all. Hack away.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 8:08PM
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Thanks so much for the responses. I was quite amazed when I pulled it out of the pot and saw how root bound it is. Yes, it is a Beaucarnea recurvata.

I too like the look of the 2 together, but I did buy it with the intention of separating them and giving one to a friend. I have 2 shorter 12 inch pots that I would like to put them in so I will have to trim the bottom off the root ball.

Or I could be greedy and leave them together and keep them both. LOL

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 10:33PM
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I believe these plants like to be pot bound. I think they are beautiful together.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 6:50AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No plant "likes" or prefers to be root-bound.
A plant's vitality begins to decline once the roots have filled the pot.
Please follow the link for more information on the subject.


Here is a link that might be useful: Myth: This Plant Likes/Prefers to be Root-bound

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:35AM
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