If you are the owner of a ponytail palm tree, you may wonder if and when your plant will produce flowers. Unfortunately, flowering is pretty rare – it may take up to 30 years for your plant to bloom!
In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why ponytail palms rarely flower as well as what the elusive blooms look like.
Ponytail Palm Description
The botanical name for the ponytail palm plant is Beaucarnea recurvata. However, it’s not a true palm tree but is in the Asparagaceae family, which includes agave and asparagus.
It’s an evergreen perennial that gets its name from its palm-like trunk and long, strappy green leaves that emerge from the end of the trunk like a ponytail.
You may also see it referred to as an elephant foot plant because the trunk base can resemble an elephant foot.
These plants are slow-growing and can eventually reach 15 feet tall or more. They are most commonly grown as houseplants but can also be planted outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates (in the US, that means zones 10A through 11).
While the ponytail palm is a lovely, low-maintenance houseplant, it’s seldom that you’ll see it in flower when grown indoors. In fact, it’s pretty rare for this plant to bloom at all.
Reasons Why Ponytail Palms Rarely Flower
A ponytail palm can take a few decades to mature enough to bloom.
The big, bulb-like part of the plant is called a caudex. This is where the leaves emerge, and it’s where the plant stores water and energy.
For this plant to flower, it needs a big caudex.
The caudex on a ponytail palm can eventually reach 7 feet across when grown outdoors. Obviously, you’re not going to see a potted houseplant reach that size.
Usually, ponytail palms that flower have a very large caudex and have been grown outdoors for years or even decades.
What Do Ponytail Palm Flowers Look Like?
The flowers on a ponytail palm spike look like a feather plume. The spike will produce hundreds of tiny flowers.
Flowers will be either creamy-white or pink, depending on whether the plant is male or female. Male plants have white flowers, while females have pink flowers.
The flower plumes start out standing up, but they eventually droop as they age.
Wondering if Your Ponytail Palm Will Bloom Soon? Here’s How To Tell.
When you see flower spikes appear above the foliage on your Beaucarnea recurvata, it’s time to celebrate! This means that there are now flowers on their way.
Flower spikes look considerably different from regular leaves growing out of the trunk. You’ll know it when you see it.
How Long Will the Flowers Last?
Flowers will last for several weeks, and the plant may even bloom a few times during one year.
After the flowers die, you can cut them off.
Or, if you have a female plant, you can let it go to seed (I think this will only happen if there is a male plant nearby).
I find the seed pods very attractive. And you can even grow new plants from the seed.
It is unlikely that your ponytail palm will ever produce flowers, especially if it’s grown indoors as a potted plant.
The best chance for flowering is to plant it outdoors if you live in a suitably warm climate, where the temperature doesn’t drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. But, unfortunately, even then, you’ll have to wait many years, and it’s still quite rare.
But if you are lucky enough to see flower spikes appear on your plant, enjoy the beautiful blooms while they last!
Ponytail palms can flower several times during one growing season. However, it’s still rare for this plant to bloom at all.
Ponytail palms need bright, indirect light. Therefore, the sunniest room in your house is the best spot for this plant. Place it near a window but out of direct sunlight.
Beaucarnea recurvata can live for many years, both indoors and outdoors. Some plants have been known to live for over 100 years.
Trimming is not necessary, but you can trim off any brown or yellow leaves or spent flower spikes. Use clean, sharp shears to make clean cuts.
Water your ponytail palm when the top inch of soil is dry. That’s generally once every week or two during the growing season. During the winter months, you can reduce watering to once every three to four weeks. This plant is prone to root rot, so allow it to dry out completely between waterings.