Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by Griselda M.
Getting a ponytail palm as a house plant is guaranteed to draw the attention of anyone entering your home, but how big do ponytail palms get? If you’re working with limited space, you probably wonder whether a ponytail palm is a good choice.
Unlike the specimens in nature, a potted ponytail palm doesn’t grow that tall. But if you want to plant one in your garden, pay attention to their extreme height – up to 30 feet!
Ponytail Palm Height
Ponytail palms can grow between 1 to 3 feet, 3 to 8 feet, and 8 to 30 feet.
It primarily depends on the location and climate. In nature, each ponytail palm grows up to 12 inches a year. This is considered slow growth.
The ponytail palm plant has a large trunk that can grow anywhere from 1 to 4 feet wide. When grown indoors, it requires regular replanting. The new pot shouldn’t be more than 2-3 inches wider.
How tall your ponytail palm will grow depends on whether you have it in a pot and how good you care for it. They require minimal attention, but you still need to secure proper growing conditions.
Ponytail palm origin and natural habitat
Ponytail palms are not palms, actually! Instead, they’re a succulent type related to the Agave. Their natural habitat is in eastern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. They prefer a desert-like environment and won’t thrive in a colder climate.
Just like all succulents, the ponytail palm is low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and needs a lot of sunshine.
This evergreen plant features broad leaves and is over 350 years old!
How Tall Do Ponytail Palms Grow In Pots?
A potted ponytail palm is a perfect accessory to any large space in your house. The waterfall-like leaves make it a fun and eye-catching addition to your plant collection.
When grown indoors, the ponytail palm has limited growth. The maximum height it can reach in its whole life is 4 feet. This is considerably taller than other house plants but way less than the full potential of a ponytail palm.
To grow taller, the ponytail palm needs more space. You need to replant it frequently but always to a pot that’s not drastically bigger. A bigger pot can kill the plant. It will accumulate more moisture which is not something this plant likes.
If you keep the plant in a small container, you’ll limit its growth. However, some may like the ponytail palm short, so this is how to do it.
What Do Ponytail Palms Need To Grow Big?
You can singlehandedly control the height of the ponytail palm without pruning. It’s not a plant that needs to be pruned as it has one stem. If you cut the top, it becomes susceptible to mold and mildew and can eventually end in a dead plant.
However, there are small offsprings at the root that can be cut out and replanted.
The leaves are very gentle and are first to show any sign of sickness. If you notice yellow tips, cut just the damaged part with your garden scissors.
Frequent replanting into a slightly bigger container allows the plant to grow wider and taller. You should do this in early spring or summer. If you’re thinking about transplanting your ponytail palm in the garden, this is also the right time.
Early repotting gives the plant enough time to establish its roots before the chillier months.
Correct position and soil
Plant your ponytail palm in well-draining soil that’s mixed with sand. If you’re keeping it inside, choose the sunniest room in the house. Place it near a window, but don’t expose it to direct sunlight. Control the humidity; these plants need low humidity areas.
You can plant your ponytail palm outside if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. However, make sure the soil and place are suitable.
The fun thing about ponytail palms is they’re very forgiving. They don’t need sunlight every day. For example, you can keep your potted plant in the garden from spring to fall. Then you can bring it inside to a darker room, and it will survive the winter.
Suitable watering schedule
Ponytail palms don’t need much water. They’re succulents and need a dry, low humid environment. You can easily kill it if you keep on watering it every day along with your other plants. During winter, you can water the plant less than once a week.
In summer they need generous but less frequent watering. Create a schedule of 2 to 3 waterings per week. If the plant is outside in a very dry and hot climate, you’ll have to adjust the watering.
How Big Does A Ponytail Palm Get After A Year?
Ponytail palm is a slow grower. The maximum you can expect in a year, when gown outside, is 12 inches. If you planted it at 1 foot tall, it would double in size after 4 to 5 years.
Inside, they grow even slower. So make sure to secure all the growing conditions and re-pot it frequently. The large ponytail palm trees you see in nature are over a few decades old!
Are Ponytail Palms An Indoor Plant?
Ponytail palms are one of the best indoor plants. They won’t take up much of your time and aren’t sensitive. They need sunshine part of the year, so you can experiment with positioning. During winter, ponytail palms go dormant. In these months you can keep the plant at a temperature of 50 to 55°F.
This hardy plant doesn’t need much care but grants you a splendid look.
Final Say: How Big Does A Ponytail Palm Get?
Ponytail palms can grow up to 30 feet in their natural desert habitat in eastern Mexico. This plant is part of the succulent family, so it’s tolerant of less water, low humidity, and rare fertilization.
It’s a slow grower so expect it to grow up to 12 inches a year or a maximum of 4 feet in a lifetime when grown inside. Switch the pot for 2 inches bigger every spring or summer. If you live in zones 9 to 11, you can plant a ponytail palm in your garden.
To grow a tall ponytail palm, provide correct growing conditions and never cut the top.
Mary is a passionate gardener who loves spending her days getting her hands dirty and nurturing her plants. She‘s an avid reader of gardening magazines and is always looking for new ways to make her garden thrive. When not outside tending to her plants, Mary can be found inside reading up on the latest gardening trends, comparing notes with fellow gardeners, and finding the perfect pottery planter for her next planting project.