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Dying pony tail palm

My pony tail palm seems to be dying. It has lost some leaves and the remainder are brown from the tip to half the leaf length. It's about 3 years old and just this last year it has suffered.


There are a couple of things that would be useful to know before answering this question. Has the plant recently been repotted? Where is the plant — inside or outside? Has it been moved recently? Is the plant in the garden or a pot?

Just an interesting point, pony tail palms are related to yuccas.

This sounds like a watering problem — possibly underwatering — and/or lack of humidity around the plant. Water at least once a week during summer and sparingly in winter. If the plant is indoors, water more frequently depending upon the room temperature.

To increase the humidity around the plant, mist the leaves once a week or place small pebbles in the saucer, then place the pot on top of the pebbles. Fill the saucer with water; do not let the plant sit in water (the pebbles stop this from happening).

Dehumidifiers and heaters can cause these symptoms — they remove moisture out of the air, so more frequent misting of leaves may help overcome this, or you could move the plant to another room where there is no artificial heating. Liquid feed plants through the summer with a soluble fertiliser such as Thrive or Phostrogen.

Just a thought — if the plant is outside, could it have been frosted?

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005