How Long Does It Take a Ponytail Palm To Grow a Trunk?

The ponytail palm is native to the beautiful country of Mexico, and it’s famous for its hardiness, distinctive leaves, and several palm-like features. The plant is long-living and generally easy to grow and manage, but it’s not uncommon for new and experienced gardeners to have questions about keeping it in homes or gardens. After all, a well-informed gardener equals a healthy houseplant.

It takes six to twelve months for a ponytail palm to grow a trunk. However, these numbers might vary, depending on the ponytail palm plant you have in your home or garden. Some species might grow trunks earlier, and it might take others a much longer time to develop their trunks.

I must point out that your ponytail palm’s environmental conditions can also affect how long it will take for the plant to develop trunks. And regardless of what ponytail palm you have, it’s imperative you know how to correctly grow them and learn the optimal conditions for keeping them healthy. I’ll go through these concepts in this article and answer a few crucial ponytail palm development questions.

How Do You Grow a Ponytail Palm?

Beaucarnea recurvata is the most commonly grown ponytail palm species in the United States today. Like its other perennial siblings, the plant grows reasonably slowly—and you can expect it to grow at least 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) tall every month. However, the beautiful succulent makes up for its lazy development by being easy to grow and thrives in all parts of your home—whether you keep it indoors or outdoors.

You can grow a ponytail palm by any of these two methods:

  • By growing them from cuttings.
  • By growing them from seeds.

Fortunately, both methods are easy, and you can get started by checking with your local nursery. I’ll explore both of these methods in the next section of this article.

How To Grow a Ponytail Palm From Cuttings

Cuttings are vegetative pieces of plants—typically from the plant’s stem or root—that can be planted like seeds to grow new shoots. When propagating a ponytail plant from cuttings, you’ll need a side shoot from the main plant, appropriately called the plant pup. Pups can sometimes interfere with the overall aesthetic look of your ponytail plant, so it’s great they’re excellent pieces for starting new plants.

Here’s how to grow a ponytail palm plant from cutting:

  1. Identify an ideal ponytail palm pup on your old plant. You must have a pup that’s ready for planting before you proceed with the rest of these steps, but don’t cut it yet. You can also get cuttings from your local nursery or plant shop.
  2. Find a convenient spot for your new ponytail palm. Location is vital in gardening, and since ponytail palm plants make excellent houseplants, you can start them in a pot and place it where it has the best growing conditions.
  3. Prepare an appropriate potting mix in your new planter. You can use a pre-made indoor potting mix or make your soil mix. However, ensure the soil is well-draining, preferably sandy, and with neutral pH.
  4. Use a sharp knife to remove the pup from the ponytail palm. You can use a sharp knife since it gives you maximum control, but ensure you only cut from the base of the pup. Remember to be careful during this process and remove only healthy, viable pups that are at least 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) tall.
  5. Remove the leaves from the cut pup’s bottom and set the cutting aside for a few days. A day or two is sufficient and will help prevent root rot by allowing the cut to heal. Ensure to place the cutting somewhere dry, but don’t put it in direct sunlight.
  6. Place the dried cutting in some rooting hormone so the ponytail palm plant will grow roots. I recommend using a rooting hormone concentrate for your plant, but ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Rooting hormone is easy to apply and will help prevent transplant shock.
  7. Plant the cutting in the prepared potting mix. Ensure you place the cutting into the soil with its base at the bottom and push until the entire piece is halfway inside the mix. You can add more potting mix to cover the base if the soil isn’t enough.
  8. Add some water to your new plant and place it where it will get lots of sunlight. Aftercare is as important as every other step when growing ponytail palms from cuttings, so be incredibly attentive to the plant during its first few weeks. 

Propagating a ponytail palm from cuttings might seem overwhelming, but you—and the plant—will be fine if you follow the steps I’ve shared. Remember to sterilize your knife with alcohol and use only sharp tools so you don’t harm the parent plant during the process.

How To Grow a Ponytail Palm From Seeds

You can also grow ponytail palm plants from seeds, although most gardeners prefer to use cuttings since you need fresh seeds to be successful. Fortunately, you can get ponytail palm from most nurseries and plant shops, but ensure you keep the seeds dry and warm before you plant them.

The quality of your plant is directly related to the quality of your seeds, so I recommend you opt for only high-quality seeds to start.

Here’s how to grow a ponytail palm from seeds:

  1. Prepare the ponytail palm seeds by leaving them in a water bowl overnight. The water will help weaken the seed’s coat and allow the shoot to flourish. I recommend you use clean water that’s between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C) so you don’t damage the seeds.
  2. Put the ponytail palm seeds in a bowl with hot water and leave them in the bowl till the water cools. The water should be no more than 180°F (82°C), or you might risk seriously damaging the seeds. This step—called scarification—is optional and will help speed up germination.
  3. Find a convenient spot for your new ponytail palm. Location is vital in gardening, and you must be careful to start caring for the plant while it’s a seed. You can start them in an adequate-sized pot.
  4. Put the seeds in a seed-starting tray and add the appropriate potting mix. Seed-starting trays are excellent tools to help start healthy seeds and promote nutrient absorption. Ensure you put enough potting mix in each cell.
  5. Move the seed-starting tray to a cool room. Your young ponytail palm plants will thrive in temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18.3°C and 23.9°C), but they also need about 12 hours of sunlight every day. So, pick your growing spot carefully.
  6. Transplant the ponytail palm plants when you notice multiple leaves. Ensure you don’t transplant the plant too early, or you might lose it to transplant shock. It might take at least eight weeks until the plant is ready for repotting to a larger container.
  7. Alternatively, you can prepare a growing mixture in a suitable planter. I recommend using a high-quality potting mix from your local garden center, but you can make your soil mix. As always, ensure the soil is well-draining, preferably sandy, and with neutral pH.
  8. Plant the seeds in the prepared potting mix. Remember to space out the seeds, but don’t put too many of them in a single pot. You only need one or two seeds for the plant to grow, but multiple seeds will increase your chances of seeing a plant.
  9. Add some water to your new plant and place it where it will get lots of sunlight. You’ll typically notice fresh sprouts in a few weeks, so ensure you keep a close watch on the planter.

Whether you’re growing a ponytail palm plant from seeds or cuttings, it’s best to wait till spring before you start. It’s the optimal period for growing the plants and will significantly increase your chances of ending up with beautiful green plants.

Final Thoughts

It will take at least half a year for most ponytail palm plants to grow trunks, but they’ll thrive if you correctly care for them. And while some species might grow their trunks later or earlier, you’ll end up with healthy trunks if you control the plant’s environmental conditions.

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to grow new ponytail palms from seeds and cuttings, and vital tips for keeping the houseplant healthy.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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