Ponytail Palms Overlooked in Florida Landscapes

Ponytail palms abound in pots and nurseries, but try finding them in Florida landscapes. Sure, you’ll spot them occasionally, but the Hollywood types of foxtails, wild dates and Cuban royals seem to be overshadowing them lately. And that’s too bad, because ponytails are perfectly fine specimens that have their own fun, quirky style.

For starters, ponytail palms are a great accent choice and show off best when they’re not on center stage. Try them at an entrance to a walkway. Near an alcove. Between two windows. Or near the base of two taller palms. Their green loose ringlets cascade down in the most soft, alluring way, thus their name. No two are alike, which means you have endless, one-of-kind personalities to play with — tall slim silent ones or short plump feisty ones. They all have a cool bulbous base (hence their nickname, “Elephant Foot Tree”), and they all have one-inch-wide leaves that can each reach six feet long.

So how fast will your ponytail grow? Let’s just say not nearly as fast as the human kind. Its growth rate is so slow that it even vexes time-lapse cameras. Years will pass. Suns will set. Droughts will pass through. And yet your ponytail will keep doing its thing, hanging out wherever you put it or chillin’ with taller palms clamoring for the spotlight. Nothing fancy, please. Dry sandy soil. Sun or part shade.  Maybe an occasional trim to remove browned fronds. That’s it. 

Well, maybe there’s one more little thing. Ponytail palms get a little cranky if you give them tiny drinks all the time. Just give them one good long one and let them dry out before pulling out the hose again. They’ll be your best friend for life. Oh, and fertilize them three times a year to help keep them green and healthy.

Finally, we saved the best for last — a fun fact we bet you didn’t know. Ponytails palms are not really palms. They’re a relative of the yucca. Go figure.

ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design

Can you see your landscape styled with a ponytail or two? Call ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design and let’s get your landscape renovation started. Contact Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897 or jennil@artistree.com, and she’ll schedule you with one of our award-winning designers. ArtisTree serves Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, and also provides community-wide maintenance services for homeowner associations.

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