How Often To Water Ponytail Palm?

Ponytail palms are gorgeous plants with characteristic rosettes of hanging leaves. Although the ponytail is a tolerant plant in terms of maintenance, correct moisture levels are essential in ensuring your plant thrives and is disease-free. So how often should you water your ponytail palm?

You should water your ponytail palm moderately once or twice a week in the growing season and . once a month in winter. However, the time of year, the size of your plant, and whether it is indoors or outdoors may influence how often you need to water your palm.

In this article, I will explore how often to water your ponytail palm based on these factors and others. So get your watering can ready, and let us get to watering some plants!

The Best Water To Use for Your Ponytail Palm

Before we get to watering the plant, it is vital to know what kind of water you should use to water this plant.

Using tap water might seem an obvious choice, but tap water is not always the best option. Tap water is filled with minerals and salts, damaging your plant over time. So what water would be better to use?

  • Rainwater is an excellent choice for watering plants as it is the purest form of natural water. By collecting rainwater and using that for your plants, you are cutting down the cost of your water bill and putting Mother Nature’s resources to good use!
  • Distilled and purified water are also excellent choices as they are free from impurities. Ensure any water you use is room temperature and not cold to prevent shocking your plant’s system.

If you choose to use tap water, we suggest letting it sit out for at least 24 hours so the minerals can dissipate from the water.

The Recommended Watering Schedule for the Ponytail Palm

Watering schedules are an excellent way to ensure your plant is always adequately watered and will not die from thirst. However, unlike other plants, there can be some flexibility with a ponytail palm’s watering schedule. Let us find out why.

Ponytail palms are a member of the succulent family, meaning it has the capability of withstanding drought and can go longer without being watered than other plants.

So if you live in states such as Arizona and Florida, you don’t need to worry about the ponytail palm’s survival. After all, the ponytail hails from the semi-desert areas of Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala,

When creating a watering schedule for this beautiful plant, you should create two separate schedules- one for spring and summer and another for fall and winter.

The Spring/Summer Schedule

Plants always require more water during the summertime as the sun is brighter and hotter, and their soil dries out faster.

So during the hot Florida summer months, you should water your ponytail palm an average of every one to two weeks.

However, if you check your plant’s soil and it is still wet, skip watering it and check again in two to three days.

The ponytail palm cannot stand being in wet soil for too long. But as Summer is its active growing season, ensuring that you adequately water your palms will keep them alive and thriving under the hot, blazing sun.

The Fall/Winter Schedule

Most plants require less water during winter as they undergo dormancy and do not use much energy for growth.

So during the cold winter months, reduce watering this plant to once a month. Once the top two to three inches of soil are completely dry, this is your sign that the palm requires more moisture. 

The Dangers of Overwatering the Ponytail Palm

The ponytail palm is part of the succulent family, meaning this plant cannot stand submerged in soggy soil. While some plants can tolerate the occasional overwatering, this is one plant that cannot tolerate overwatering.

To prevent overwatering, stick to your watering schedule and do not deviate from it. Only water your ponytail palm when the top 3-4 inches (7.62 to 10.16 centimeters) of the soil has dried, and not before then. You do not need to be heavy-handed with your watering either—moderate watering is perfect for this plant.

Having the right soil mixture can prevent overwatering from occurring. Cacti and succulents mixed with peat moss, perlite, or sand are excellent options as this mixture has good drainage and aeration and keeps your plant correctly hydrated.

If you were to overwater this plant and not fix its conditions, you would be setting yourself up for having a dead plant.

An overwatered ponytail palm will have a squishy bulb and roots. Overwatering can also lead to stem rot and yellow leaves. It might sound like your plant is doomed if you overwater it, but there are a few ways to save it should overwatering occur.

Two Ways To Save an Overwatered Ponytail Palm

If you notice that you have overwatered your ponytail palm, you should take immediate action—this could mean the difference between saving the plant or having it join the plant graveyard.

Tip #1: Cut Off Rotten Roots

One of the best ways to save your plant is to remove rotted roots. To do so, follow these three easy steps:

  1. Gently remove the plant from the soil.
  2. Wash the roots.
  3. Cut off the rotten roots using scissors (do not pull them to prevent additional damage to the plant).

Tip #2: Report the Ponytail Palm

When soggy soil is the issue, the best resolution is to start over fresh! You should take this step after you have removed the rotted roots and done it with the utmost care.

You can use the same pot as before or place the plant in a new container. Ensure that whatever pot you use has been thoroughly washed and cleaned, is debris free, and is ready to house a new plant!

Put together a fresh soil mixture for your plant. If you are using the same mix as before, try adding some sand into the batch to help ensure better water drainage and airflow to prevent overwatering from occurring again.

We recommend using a physical solution to clean the recently cut roots to prevent infection from occurring. The roots are more susceptible to algae, bacterial, or fungal infection in this condition, so don’t skip this step!

Once your plant is in its new pot, please wait a few days before watering it. By waiting, you are ensuring the plant has dried out enough so that when it receives its next drink, you will not be harming it again.

Once again, we cannot emphasize enough how much having a watering schedule and suitable soil can prevent overwatering from occurring!

The Dangers of Underwatering the Ponytail Palm

An underwatered ponytail palm is not pretty to look at—its leaves become limp and dry and may begin to turn brown. Its stem shrivels like a raisin, making this ordinarily beautiful plant look like something out of a horror film.

However, you can save an underwatered ponytail palm. Here are steps to salvage it:

  1. Fill a bucket, sink, or wash basin with room-temperature water. We recommend purified or rainwater.
  2. Let your plant soak in the water for up to an hour.
  3. When your plant is well-hydrated, remove it from the water and allow it to rest. Resting your plant will help drain any excess water from the soil.
  4. Trim off damaged leaves with sterile scissors. Trimming the damaged leaves will help the plant look and feel healthier.

We recommend keeping a watchful eye on our plant during this time. Once it has recovered, we recommend ensuring you stick to your watering schedule. Setting a reminder on your phone or an alarm can be an excellent way to ensure you never miss another watering!

Ponytail Palm Single Trunk - 6'' from California Tropicals

Other Ways To Determine When It Is Time to Water

It is easy to lose track of time when our hectic schedules overpower our days and nights. It can go from Thursday to Monday in the blink of an eye, so it is easy to forget specific tasks, like watering our plants.

A quick way to tell if your plant requires water is if you pick it up and notice it feels lightweight. When you freshly water a plant, it weighs more because wet soil compacts together, making everything feel heavier.

So if your plant does not have any heft to it, time to give it a nice drink of water; it will thank you!

Then there is the most obvious way- touching the soil. If you do not want to get your finger dirty, you can always use a stick for this. Put your finger or stick into the ground, about three to four inches. If no soil sticks to your finger or a stick— it is time to water your plant


If you can keep your ponytail palm on a regular watering schedule, you are setting yourself up to have a plant that will grow and thrive for years.

With this plant, the most crucial thing is not to overwater or underwater it—and keep a watchful eye on your palm. So now you have the schedule for watering your ponytail palm. So grab a pen and some paper, make that schedule, and stick to it!

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