How To Make Ponytail Palm Grow Taller? [5 helpful tips]

Ponytail palms are a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor plant enthusiasts. These iconic, shaggy-headed palms are easy to maintain and are drought-hardy and tolerant. If you are lucky enough to own one of these beauties, you might wonder what you can do to make your palm grow to its natural height.

If you want to make your ponytail palm grow taller, there are several ways to encourage growth. Proper lighting, temperature, and watering are essential to make your palm grow taller. However, soil conditions and suitable fertilizers are vital to enhancing your palm’s vertical growth.

Ponytail palms are a gorgeous addition to your house and garden—with their striking rosettes of leaves. In this article, I will share my top tips for making your ponytail palm grow tall and proud.

We will give our recommendations for the best lighting, soil, water, and more to let this plant live its most thriving life.

1. Ensure Your Ponytail Palm Gets Adequate Sunshine

Your Beaucarnea recurvata is native to semi-desert areas of southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, and sunny Belize, so they thrive in full sun and bright indirect light. In its native habitat, the palm typically grows to as much as 30′ tall (9.1m)—so they require a lot of sunshine to be happy.

If you reside in a state like Arizona or Florida, where the sun always seems to be shining, this plant is sure to thrive.

So choose the brightest room in your home. Within that room, find the sunniest spot that gets the best indirect sunlight, and you have found your plant’s new home.

However, if you purchased a ponytail grown in a shaded area, you must do things differently. For a ponytail palm grown in a shady spot, you need to slowly introduce it to a sunny location to prevent the plant from becoming disfigured and sunburnt.

How To Introduce a Shade-Grown Ponytail Palm To Sunlight

  1. Pick the spot you want to house the plant in and let it stay there for about an hour or two a day before moving it back to a shadier area.
  2. Gradually increase your palm’s exposure to indirect sunlight, allowing it time to adjust to its new environment.
  3. Do this moving method for about a week or two, so your plant can get used to its new environment.
  4. Once the transition is complete, your ponytail palm will be well on its way to growing luscious fresh leaves.

If you are planting a ponytail palm in your backyard, finding a spot with excellent sunlight will be best for this plant to grow tall and strong.

2. Keeping the Right Temperature and Humidity for Your Palm

All plants have temperatures and humidity levels that help them grow to their fullest potential—some of the rules for temperature and humidity are very strict for these plants.

However, at least in the case of temperature, there is some wiggle room with the ponytail palm.

The ponytail palm is a hardy plant that can accept fluctuations in temperature reasonably well. So if you live in an area with hot summers and cold winters, you do not have to worry about this plant too much.

However, if you are looking for the optimal temperature to grow your ponytail palm, temperatures of 60°F (15.56°C) and above are ideal.

Now in the case of humidity, this plant does well in low-humidity areas. Too much moisture can cause issues for this plant, so keep it out of high-humidity rooms.

So avoid misting this plant or grouping it with other plants as the humidity caused by these two actions will do your plant more harm than good.

One of the weirdest things about this plant is that the tips and edges of its leaves will turn brown as a reaction to the dry air. Generally, this is a bad sign on a plant, but on a ponytail plant, this is considered typical and nothing to be concerned over.

3. Ponytail Palms: Proper Watering

As a member of the succulent family, you won’t need to water this plant very often. It has an excellent water storage organ in the base of its stem, which allows it to withstand drought and other long absences of water.

Watering this plant thoroughly every week or bi-weekly during the summer is best if you house it indoors. During winter, you can water it once a month, and it will be fine.

For an outdoor ponytail palm, let nature water it for you. Rainwater is nature’s purest form of water. If you reside in an area with frequent rain, you do not have to be concerned about watering this plant.

However, if you reside in a drier climate or are experiencing a drought, you should modestly water this palm every two weeks.

The most crucial factor is to ensure you do not overwater this palm as it hates having wet feet. Overwatering this plant can also lead to stem rot, which will cause yellow leaves and the plant’s caudex to become soft and squishy.

We encourage you to keep a regular watering schedule for this plant, as this will be what helps your plant grow the best.

4. Using the Right Soil

You might not think the soil your plant is housed in will matter, but it does. Keeping a ponytail palm in a suitable substrate makes the difference between having a surviving plant and a thriving plant.

As a member of the succulent family that comes from semi-desert areas, this plant does best in sandy and organically rich soil.

If you are keeping your ponytail plant indoors, you can use a cactus and succulent potting mix with peat on its ingredients list to help keep it happy.

Soil mixes with perlite or pumice are also an excellent choice for this plant. Remember, overwatering makes this plant unhappy, so you will need to find soil with the following qualities:

  • Your soil should offer good drainage. Ponytail palms originate in semi-desert regions of Mexico and Belize, so they suffer in wet soil conditions.
  • Your soil must offer excellent aeration. Aerated soil allows oxygen to enrich the soil and promote micro-bacterial growth.
  • The soil must offer the correct amount of water retention. As the ponytail palm prefers dry soil conditions, ensure your soil is not too dense and loamy for your palm to thrive.

The best way to create the perfect soil conditions for your outdoor ponytail palms is to follow these steps:

  1. Use a rake to collect a layer of mulch about 1″ (2.5cm) around the plant’s base.
  2. Leave a gap of approximately 6″ (15.2cm) between your palm’s base and the mulch to protect the palm from potential rot. 

5. Fertilizing Your Ponytail Palm

Fertilizer has proven to be an excellent tool for promoting overall plant health and growth. While this chore might not be some plant parent’s favorite one to do, there is no doubt it can help you achieve the desired results.

The ponytail palm does not require excessive nutrients, so you won’t need to provide food very often. A light monthly feed should be enough during spring and summer to keep this plant happy.

However, some ponytail palm owners have found their plant requires a weekly feed during these months, especially as it grows more extensive and requires more to sustain itself.

You do not need a special fertilizer for this plant—a 10-10-10 slow-release fertilizer will work well. Using a liquid fertilizer or a slow-release pellet fertilizer is an excellent option for allowing your plant to absorb the nutrients as needed.

During winter, reduce fertilizing them to once a month or every other month. The winter fertilizing schedule will depend on your regular fertilizing schedule for this plant, so make the proper adjustments to ensure your plant is getting what it needs.

How Tall Can My Ponytail Palm Get?

Whether you have kept your ponytail palm indoors or outdoors will depend on how tall it will become. Indoor ponytail palms will be shorter than outdoor ones as indoor plans will have limited space to grow, unlike outdoor ones.

An indoor ponytail palm can grow between 6 ft (1.8 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) in height with a 3 ft (0.9 ) to 5 ft (1.5 m) width in their leaf spread—while outdoor ponytail palms can grow up to 30 ft (9.1 m).

So if you start with a 1 ft (0.3 m), your palm will take 5-8 years to reach full height indoors.

But as we said- good things come to those who are patient and wait.

Wildpretii- Live Ponytail Palm Beaucarnea Recurvata Pony Tail Plant (Starter)


So now you know the ways to make your ponytail palm grow taller.

  1. Ensure sufficient sunshine.
  2. Keep the right temperature and humidity.
  3. Provide adequate water.
  4. Choose sandy, well-draining soil.
  5. Fertilize your palm to promote growth.

By doing these five things, you ensure that your ponytail palm will grow to its fullest potential and live a long and healthy life. We wish you the best of luck rising this luscious plant into a tremendous beauty.

You may also like: