Ponytail palm pruning is ideal for palms that need a bit of restoration. Because these Asparagaceae family plants are perfect for both indoor and outdoor settings, care guides will usually suggest frequent trimming and sometimes pruning.

How to Ponytail Palm Pruning

These plants are also known as Beaucarnea Recurvata, and they tend to look overwhelming with their flowing leaves, especially if you have multiple different plants nearby. Let’s look at key ways how you can successfully prune your ponytail palms.

How to Prune Your Ponytail Palm Greens?

To prune your ponytail palm greens you must first examine the plant, make some cutting in the leaves, and get rid of them. Lastly, you must also ensure that you are eliminating any sucker that is found on the plant.

– Examine The Plant


Start by looking for brown, yellowed, and rotting leaves; remember that these are the ones that need to be eliminated. Next, you should also try to check the undersides of the leaves for pest infestation and check for any laid eggs. These are the parts that should be removed, because they would hinder the growth of the cactus.

Examine The Plant

A web-like material may indicate an infestation of spider mites, which would develop and grow in your plant. Ponytail plants with certain diseases will have yellowed leaves and would also impact the base, which are at the main establishment of the plant. Plus, if your plant has recently been turning brown or turning yellow, the growth rate may slow down immensely because of excess moisture.

– Making Cuts in the Leaves

Trim the browned, decaying, and yellowed leaves first, followed by the dried and rotting leaves. Ensure that you have cleaned and sanitized your tools properly before aiming to make any cuts because chances are, sometimes the tool would be contaminated by a disease


To maintain the leaf’s sharp-end appearance, make sure to cut the leaf off on a diagonal, which means that you must try to aim to make each cut at a 45-degree angle to prevent disease-promoting water accumulation.

The top of the leaf cluster should then be trimmed by removing two-thirds of the top growth, which promotes robust growth to the sides. As the leaves lengthen, you can trim them short, giving them the distinctive appearance of a palm leaf. Consider tilting the container downward every once in a while just to observe if the plant is growing exceptionally well on one side; if this is the case.

– Eliminate Any Suckers

Suckers must leave because they rob the plant of vital nutrients. To remove them, carefully grab them with your thumb and index finger in a gentle way. In any other case, trim the sucker close to the plant with sharp pruning shears, and ensure to put them in a fresh pot for propagation, or discard them.

Remember that suckers are also known as pups, and they develop close to the mother plant at the base of the broad stem. They are also known as offsets and must be separated from the main plant in the spring and planted as distinct plants, even if they are clones. You should remove them so that the mother plant will grow in a healthy way, hence pruning these pups is a key point.

The leaves develop in bunches with a base that connects to the stem. The cluster is a pup or offset. Ponytail plants should be pruned with a very clean, sharp knife or pruners, and the pups should be planted in potting soil with grit as soon as possible so that you would propagate and grow more of them.

How to Trim Newly Pruned Ponytail Palms

To trim a newly pruned ponytail palm you should first position the plant well and then examine the rest of the parts of the plant. After doing so, you must trim the foliage to a healthy stance, and wait in between trimming sessions.

1. Position and Examine Your Rest of the Parts

Place your ponytail palm tree close to your line of vision so that the length of the leaf bundle is clearly visible. Check the foliage of your palm for parasite and pest infestations. Consider removing or treating any infestations that have been found before you prune your ponytail palm. You must observe the plant well, and check every aspect of the growth because these would hinder its growth of it and reduce its height.

The matter would be a critical one, which is why when you carefully look for any parts that have been dried out, damaged, infested, or even looks weakened. This step is an important one because now you are ensuring that the plant is healthy looking before you trim off the other parts.

2. Trim The Foliage

Trim the leaf clump’s tip with scissors so that your ponytail palm can develop to the right size. Fresh leaves are compelled to grow out from the foliage cluster borders or sides rather than only upwards. To maintain the appearance of sharp tip nodes in the foliage of your ponytail palm, cut off all the discolored leaf ends with an angled snip.

Trim straight down to keep the edges sharp at the tips (vertically). Ensure you do this throughout the growing season, so new leaves can appear well before your ponytail. These plants hibernate for the winter. If you want to shape your ponytail palm plant, you can keep pruning it until the plant’s sides are covered in new leaves.

Make an effort to avoid using rectangular margins and utilize long strokes. Instead of abruptly slowing down development, it is best to do it gradually, because your Palm’s trunk may gradually turn mushy as more roots rot if untreated while you keep watering it. The plant won’t be able to recover if the roots sustain enough damage.

3. Wait In Between Trimmings

Since ponytails grow relatively slowly, virtually always after being styled, you won’t need to clip them. After cutting, if you see that your shrub is only growing on one side or possibly both, remember to tilt the container downward once every few months to guarantee optimum growth on both sides.

Wait In Between Trimmings

Ponytail palms are slow-growing and should not require pruning when cultivated inside, which is why you should wait and see before you continue the task of trimming. But you can clip off the growing tip and let the plant re-sprout if you want to encourage it to grow several trunks. You may have heard about ponytail palm multiple heads, and they do exist.

How to Care For Newly Pruned Ponytail Palms?

To care for the newly pruned ponytail palm plant you should choose the right location and provide enough sunlight. You must also provide it with the ideal temperature, make sure to water and fertilize the plant occasionally, repot if necessary, and decrease its winter stress.

– Choose a Suitable Location with Enough Sunlight

Ponytail is a succulent that does not require frequent watering or repotting and can thrive in a small growing space. Consider keeping your ponytail plant in a bright area with enough indirect sunlight because a succulent will dry out fast if exposed to direct sunshine. Especially now that it has gotten rid of the heaviness of the leaves, it would need sufficient sunlight to grow again.

They should be maintained a few feet away from the south-facing window because they require around six hours of sunshine daily. If your area lacks sunlight, plant care suggests keeping it inside under LED grow lights with the proper wavelength.

– Provide Ideal Temperatures

Ponytail plants thrive in typical household environments with room temperature and low to moderate humidity. In the growth season, maintain a warm temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the winter, a tad cooler at 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. To encourage the speedy healing of freshly cut leaves, keep them near a window with indirect sunshine, or you can also adjust a light next to it with the correct wave.

– Water Occasionally

A Ponytail plant that has recently been clipped needs somewhat damp soil to assist nutrients in reaching the pruned areas. Overwatering is not enjoyable for a succulent. Two-thirds of the soil should dry out between watering sessions after the initial watering.

Water Occasionally

If not, wait 14 to 21 days or until the soil dries or crumbles before watering your houseplant, especially in winter, don’t water it too much, because it will not have time to dry it. Similarly, reduce watering at least once or twice during the winter to avoid wet soil.

– Fertilize Occasionally

After trimming, especially during the growing season, nourishing the plant to encourage new development will be a good idea. If you pruned your Ponytail plant in the early winter, you should reduce the amount of fertilizer you give it in the spring and summer.

Wait In Between Trimmings

Also note that you must reduce fertilizing in the fall and winter or whenever you notice brown leaf tips, which signal a plant that has experienced fertilizer stress.

– Repotting If Needed

Repotting should only be considered if the plant’s roots greatly expand, especially in the early spring. They can last for many years, though, before needing to be replanted in a bigger container. Choose a new container for repotting at least an inch bigger than the old one.

If you repot your plant during or after pruning, this is applicable, this is the case if you check that the plant had been overwatered through the yellow leaves. As a result, you must select sandy soil and quick-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

The potting mixture for cactus and succulents might work for Ponytail Palm. If you don’t want to buy a commercial succulent mix, you can build your own at home with coarse sand, perlite or pumice, and standard potting soil.

– Decrease Winter Stress

A recently pruned plant is susceptible to damage when exposed to cold drafts. Bring your plant indoors and reduce all other factors except warm temperature and lights.

Low light levels and the lowering temperature could soon put the plant into shock, resulting in droopy and drying foliage. As an alternative, you can make up for the lack of sunlight by using the proper grow lights, in the winter season.


So, are you ready to start pruning your ponytail palm plants? With standard care tips and common ponytail palm problems mentioned above, you are more than equipped to handle this on your own. Just to recap, see the following:

  • Always use sharpened and sterile tools before every pruning session to ensure good results.
  • After pruning is done, make sure you follow the necessary ponytail palm care mentioned above for optimal growth.
  • Is your Ponytail palm too tall? Trim them with the suggested method above to encourage downward-sloping growth for height control.

Now that you have enough information on how to prune this ponytail plant correctly, you can efficiently perform the task by yourself. So, what are you waiting for! Grab your tools and get ready to sharpen your pruning skills.

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