Elephant palm is also known as ponytail palms and it’s botanical name is Beaucarnea recurvata. The elephant palm is native to Mexico and is also a member of the lily family. It took this name because it has a bulbous base. The tree can reach up to 20 feet height and the plant can reach up to 3 feet tall.
If you are a new gardener then this plant is ideal for you. You don’t need to do many things in order to take proper care of it. Below we are going to give you tips on how you can plant the elephant palm, grow and take care of it.
Planting the Elephant Palm
Planting the elephant palm isn’t very difficult. You can use a succulent potting mix which will make the soil drain fast. If you have more than one types of soil available then you can create your own. You can mix 1 part of sand, 1 part of perlite and 1 part of the potting soil.
What you also need to look at when you buy the pot is the holes. The holes will help the water drain off without causing the elephant palm to rot. You should always make sure that the water is drained and that you’ll also empty the tray.
The light is also significant. You need to place the elephant palm in a place that will be full of light because it needs the sunlight in order to grow. Finally, the best option of pot could be a clay one. It has the ability to absorb some of the water and as a result, the soil will drain quickly.
Care of the Elephant Palm
The temperature is important. This palm can do great in dry climates. It needs temperatures that will be up to 55 degrees. If you want to take it outdoors during the summertime make sure to do it little by little. Do it for an hour the first time and then increase the hours.
As we mentioned earlier watering is quite important. What is great with this plant is that fact that you don’t need to water it quite often. You can water it once per week because you need to make sure that the soil is dry. If you over-water it you might start to notice dry and brown foliage.
The bulbous of the elephant palm store water that is why it can tolerate the dry climate. It can last up to 4 weeks without being watered. If you want to make sure that this plant needs watering stick your finger in the soil. If you realize that the soil is damp don’t water and let it drain. You don’t want the water to sit.
Fertilizing is also important. The best fertilizer that you can choose would be an organic one. Use the fertilizer 1 or 2 times per month during the warm season and once during the winter. The organic fertilizer will give 60 major and minor nutrient and amino acids. Don’t fertilize it once you plant it because you’ll burn the roots.
Pruning is also significant. What you need to do is to prune the thin leaves but not a lot. In this way, the palm will look fresh. What you need to do is to cut the top of the elephant palm in order to make the foliage grow from the sides. If you do it in this way, then it will have the ponytail look.
You can prune the elephant palm all year long. If you do that then it will always have a great shape. In order to prune it, you could use Bonsai trimming shears which will help you give the palm the appropriate shape. Keep in mind that your cuts should be smooth in order for the palm to heal quickly.
In order to propagate the elephant palm, you will need to have paper towels. What you need to do is to place the palm seeds in the paper towel and then sprinkle them with water. Once you sprinkle them, place them in a dry and cool place. Make sure though that the towels will remain moist.
This process will take about 2 weeks. Once they are ready, transfer them carefully in a seedling tray and cover them with a seedling mix. Place them in an area that will have sunlight for 2 to 3 hour every day.
Once the elephant palm seeds reach 2 inches then you will be able to transfer them to a pot. Once again, place the pot in a place that will have plenty of sunlight and water them 2 times per day.
Unfortunately, just like any other plant elephant palm can have pests too. Spider mites are the most usual pests that can infect this plant. You will notice the small spider webs that they will create. You can get rid of them by using neem oil or a mixture of soap and water in order to spray the leaves.
Don’t forget that you shouldn’t overwater the elephant palm. This could lead to stem rot. If you start noticing yellow leaves and that the stem is soft then stop watering it. In this way, the soil will drain the unnecessary water and the palm will return to its healthy shape.
How to Grow Ponytail Palm as a Bonsai
The elephant palm is a plant that is quite easy to have in your house and to take care of it. The only thing that you need to do is it keep it in a place that will have sunlight. Additionally, you should water it but don’t overdo it. If you overwater it the palm will rot.
Make sure that whether you keep it in your house or in your garden you will provide the right sunlight. Fertilization is also important because it provides the palm with the right moisture. If you take proper care of the palm then you won’t have any pests.
If you do have pests then use the right mixture of ingredients to protect it. Place more than one of the elephant palms and you will have a beautiful view.