Beaucarnea recurvata Lem.

Ponytail Palm, Bottle Palm, Elephant-foot Tree

Athens Botanical Garden

Athens Botanical Garden


Family: Asparagaceae

Genus: Beaucarnea

Category: Tree - Evergreen

Zones: 9 to 12 Hardy to 23F, mature plants 18F

Size: Up to 15' tall, base could be 12' in diameter if outside

Growth Rate: Moderate

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Winter In


Requires very well-drained soil. Water every three weeks during the growing season and enough to keep the foliage from wilting during the winter.


Native to Mexico. Published in Ill. Hort. 8: 59. 1861.

Synonym is Nolina recurvata (Lem.) Hemsl.

My Experience: 

I grew one from seed (from Park Seed) in 2009. The seedling made a caudex (bulbous base) very quickly and resembles a miniature plant - but it did not gain much size in the first year. Grew new leaves in summer 2010.

I purchased a 3-gallon plant at the Washington Rd Tent in April 2010 with a large base and potted it up as a houseplant. It produces lots of leaves and very easy to care for. It is in a large east-facing window.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner