Beaucarnea recurvata - Ponytail Palm/ Nolina
Beaucarnea is known for its peculiar stem and its crown leaves. It is a very popular indoor pot plant. It can grow 10 to 15 feet in height when planted in the ground. As the name suggests it grows crown of long curved leaves on its stem. Nolina is a single branched plant, but as it grows multi-branching is not that common. It is also known as 'Elephant Foot Palm' referred to as its thick basal stem (Caudex), which attaches to the ground. It's easy to grow, clean, and hardy plants.
Soil: Soil should be well-drained and avoid water logging in soil. It has a shallow root system. So, top-soil should be firm, fertile, and rich in organic matter. Soil should be well-drained and good water holding capacity. Nolina grows any type of soils. It can be grown easily in general pot-mix soil. It has a fibrous root system attached to a thick bulb-like a base-stem. Soil can be mixed with perlite or vermiculture. It grows well in soilless media like cocopeat.
Water: It requires a comparatively small amount of water for its growth and development. Nolina is a good beginner's plant. It does require much attention. When you are confused when to water always think at the drier side. Nolina is susceptible to over-watering, the leaves turn yellow to brown, and also caudex may get translucent. The less water leads to wrinkled caudex.
Climate: It can not sustain cold temperatures. It is an evergreen tropical plant. It grows well under full sunlight or semi-shade condition. The temperature should be 18 to 32 degrees Celcius.
Garden Use: Beucarnea is used as a specimen plant or pot plant. Nolina is mostly used as a pot plant. It can be planted outdoors in the ground whereas a single specimen plant or in groups, preferably on the soil mounds.
Care and Maintenance:
Nutrition: Beucarnea doesn't require a special nutrition schedule for its growth and development. Nolina is a poor feeder, it doesn't require much nutrition attention. It can be grown in good garden mix soil.
Protection: Beucarnea is a clean plant and so doesn't attracts insect pests. Some chewing insects can be controlled by spraying insect repellent chemicals. Mealybugs is a common pest of Nolina which can be prevented by keeping plants under ambient temperature. The pots and plant need a good cleaning once a month.
Horticulture Operations: Remove old and dried leaves just pulling it down or cut with sharp scissors if it's half-dried. Repotting is required for good growth once a year with fresh garden soil or pot-mix. Check water drainage from time to time. For a multi-branching stem, center branch can be cut-back with a sharp cutter.
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