Most plant owners have at least once faced the problems of their ponytail palm developing brown tips, a common occurrence with ponytail palms. Luckily, this problem isn’t too difficult to solve and you can still save your plant. It’s important, however, to know how to prevent this problem, as well as knowing how to solve it!
Ponytail Palm Brown Leaves
Developing brown leaves is one of the most common issues with ponytail palms! This usually means that you have left your plant without water for too long!
If your ponytail palm is dehydrated, its leaves will become brown and crunchy! This problem usually occurs because of improper watering. Ponytail palms don’t need water on a daily basis. They’re just fine being watered on a weekly or biweekly basis. However, this usually leads to the owner forgetting to water the palm on time, leading to dehydration.
There’s also the alternative problem to underwatering your ponytail palm, and that’s overwatering! If you overwater your plant, then the leaves will develop a yellow note and they’ll start dropping. You can rest easy, however, as it’s not difficult to solve either of these problems!
Fixing Your Underwatered Ponytail Palm
You noticed that your ponytail palm is developing brown tips and you need to fix it! The first step is identifying whether the dehydration is minor or major.
1. Determining The Level Of Dehydration
There are numerous signs pointing you in the right direction regarding dehydration. If your dehydration is only minor, then the leaves will start to dry out and become brown.
However, if your plant is suffering from major dehydration, you’ll also see that your leaves are drooping. The soil will become very dry, while the trunk can start wrinkling. This usually happens if you’re behind schedule on watering for weeks, while minor dehydrations usually happen after a small delay in watering.
2.1. Fixing A Minor Dehydration
The first step you should take is cleaning the plant. To do this, you’ll need to trim all the brown tips. Experts recommend that you clean your scissors with alcohol between each cut. It’s also possible for a leaf to be completely or almost completely brown, cut the whole leaf off if this is the case.
You should look out for the amount of leaves you’re cutting! Never cut more than 20% of affected leaves at once – do your cutting in stages. After that, all that’s left to do is to water the plant!
2.2. Fixing A Major Dehydration
Helping your plant after a major dehydration is a bit more tricky than fixing a minor dehydration. Follow the same instructions from the previous step, with an additional instruction.
After you’ve cleaned your plant, you’re going to have to rehydrate it.
Fill your tub with 4 inches of water before placing your plant inside without the saucer. This will allow the plant to drink up the water through the hole on the bottom! The water shouldn’t be hot for this, as that could harm the plant.
Soak your palm for at least 45 minutes before testing your soil. It should become softer – this means that the water has reached the top toil. If that part of the soil is still dry, then hydrate the plant from the top. Once all the soil is properly soft and damp, just let all the water go and let the plant drain. Once it’s mostly dry, you can put it back in its place.
Ponytail Palm Care
There are a few important things to keep in mind when you’re taking are of a ponytail palm.
Let’s talk about watering first. Overwatering and underwatering a ponytail palm are two of the most common mistakes made with these plants. Ponytail palms need to dry out almost completely before watering, but they shouldn’t dehydrate! It’s best to water it once every two weeks, and you can even give it a few more days if you notice that it’s still not dry!
Don’t confuse winter with summer, and make sure to adjust your watering accordingly. These plants don’t need as much water during the winter – it’s sometimes enough to water them once a month.
We recommend that you keep a watering schedule so you don’t miss out!
It’s also important to keep placement in mind. Since this plant originated in eastern Mexico, it’s natural that it needs a lot of sunlight. The minimum requirement is 3-4 hours a day. It’s best to have it facing the southern or western side of your environment. Experts also recommend that you rotate it every few weeks so all sides of the leaves get the same amount of sunlight.
Insufficient lighting can also cause problems with dehydration and cause your ponytail palm to develop brown tips! Some owners found that leaving the plant outside during the summer allows it to store excess energy and use it during the winter when there’s less sunlight. However, make sure not to leave it out in the sun if it’s too hot, as that could dehydrate the plant quickly!
Potting And Fertilization
Since these plants are slow growers, you shouldn’t be bothered by growth. You don’t need to fertilize it more than once a month from spring to fall. Using organic houseplant fertilizer is just fine for these plants.
When you’re potting your plant, know that there’s a mixture of soil you can use to minimize dehydration. Mixing perlite, regular soil, and sand in an equal ratio will help you with watering. These plants also need to be repotted once every 12 to 18 months, depending on the size of the plant.
To sum up, brown leaves on your ponytail palm are most likely the result of dehydration. Make sure to cut off the brown leaves and rehydrate your plant. To prevent this from happening again, start scheduling your watering. It’s best to water your plant once every two weeks, and maybe even once a month during the winter. Ponytail palms aren’t too sensitive, but they require a specific watering schedule and enough sun. If you don’t overwater it or underwater it, your plant should be just fine!