How To Make Ponytail Palm Grow Taller: 9 Easy Tips & Tricks

Want to learn how to make ponytail palm grow taller?

While it isn’t possible to get a ponytail palm to focus entirely on upright growth, there are some things you can do to encourage growth upwards to make your plant taller. These include fertilizing regularly during the growing season to boost the growth rate and ensure the roots have enough space to develop properly.

This guide will cover nine tips you can implement today to get your ponytail palm to grow as tall as possible, so stay tuned.

Is It Possible To Focus Purely On Growth Upwards?

It’s obviously not possible to get your ponytail palm to focus all of its growth upwards, as a lot of the growth will also naturally occur horizontally as well to develop the caudex.

Ponytail palms are known for their large, thick caudexes, where they store most of their water, so this part of the plant is crucial during growth phases.

Ponytail Palm Natural Growth

Ponytail palms tend to be taller than they are wider, and they are not the kind of plant that spreads out like pothos.

A ponytail palm caudex with several branches at the top
One of my indoor ponytail palms

This means that getting them to grow taller is not that difficult, but there are certain things you can do to encourage growth upwards.

9 Ways To Encourage Your Ponytail Palm To Grow Tall

Most of the methods listed below will encourage overall growth, but some specific tips are ideal for upwards growth as well.

1. Sunlight

Have you ever noticed how your plants grow towards the sun?

This can become an issue with ponytail palms if the top becomes unbalanced, and it can sometimes even cause the top to break off.

It’s important to rotate your ponytail palm regularly if it is grown indoors and choose a suitable location outside where it receives balanced, indirect sunlight throughout the day. This way, the plant will grow evenly and upwards rather than tilting to the side, making it taller.

Mature palms can tolerate more direct sunlight, but keep an eye out for signs of sun scorch on the leaves

2. Fertilizer

Fertilizing is a great way to encourage your ponytail palm to grow upwards.

I like to give my ponytail palms fertilizer once per month during the growing season, and I use a balanced liquid fertilizer for this.

Balanced, or complete, fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (look out for NPK on the label), which contribute to overall growth.

3. Root Space

A key part of getting your ponytail palm to grow taller is ensuring the roots have enough space to grow.

This shouldn’t be an issue if your ponytail palm is planted outdoors in the ground, but if it is planted in a pot, you need to consider how long it has been since repotting.

Ponytail palms should have pots a few inches wider than the roots to encourage root growth. If the roots are tightly bound, your plant may still survive thanks to the water stored in the caudex but don’t expect much growth.

4. Watering

Watering a ponytail palm quite regularly during the growing season is important to encourage growth.

To do this, water when the top inch of soil becomes dry and use well-draining soil to prevent overwatering. Overwatering can lead to root rot, and if you underwater the plant, it will lead to slow overall growth and dry, crispy leaves.

5. Temperature

Temperature is crucial for plant growth, so getting the temperature suitable for your ponytail palm is important to ensure it grows as tall as possible.

The temperature should ideally be above 60°F (15°C) most of the time, with nighttime temperatures no lower than 45°F (7°C). Temperatures below this range will slow growth significantly, and anything close to or below freezing can cause serious damage to the stem.

6. Humidity

Humidity is essential for ponytail palm growth, as it affects the transpiration and, therefore, the stomatal openings which control water loss. This has a direct impact on photosynthesis and, therefore, growth.

Luckily ponytail palms prefer lower humidity than many other plants, and 40 to 50% is usually fine.

7. Cutting Branches Off

Indoor ponytail palms are often cut right at the top to encourage multiple head growth (as shown below). This is great for smaller palms kept as houseplants, but it doesn’t help with encouraging upwards growth at all.

The top of a ponytail palm with a horizontal cut section

To encourage growth upwards, you can cut branches off your ponytail palm growing out of the side.

This will help to focus the growth upwards, and you can also use the cut section for propagation to start growing another plant.

8. Grow Light

This one applies to indoor ponytail palms that might not receive as much sunlight as usual during the winter or autumn.

Grow lights are an excellent option for boosting the amount of light that a ponytail palm receives during these seasons, and they can be placed directly above, boosting the growth rate and making your palm grow taller.

9. Indoor Vs. Outdoor

There’s no doubt that ponytail palms can grow much, much taller outside (up to 30 feet).

The reason for this is simple; there is much more space for their roots to grow and better access to sunlight and water.

A large ponytail palm tree outside
Dinesh Valke from Thane, India, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This requires the right conditions for growth year-round, meaning you’ll need to be located in USDA zones 9 through 11.

In Summary

Start implementing the tips in this guide today to get your ponytail palm growing taller faster today.

Remember that most growth will happen during the spring and summer, so don’t be surprised if your palm doesn’t start growing quickly right away outside of these seasons.

Want to learn more about ponytail palms? Check out some of our other articles below:

Photo of author

About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

3 thoughts on “How To Make Ponytail Palm Grow Taller: 9 Easy Tips & Tricks”

  1. Hi Joe. I am a small commercial grower in Southern Portugal. Zone 9-10.
    I have currently a couple of thousand Beaucarnia Recurvata under cultivation. They are all doing well. I have a question that maybe you are able to help me with. How might I swell the caudex ? I usually feed with 10-10-30 and when young I periodically feed with 10-52-10 to get extra offshoots to form without cutting the stem. Not all form the extra shoots as a consequence of the high phosphorous feed, but many do.
    Best wishes to you. Martin Jackson, Tavira, Portugal.

    • Hi Martin,

      That’s fascinating to hear, it sounds like you have a great operation running.

      The caudex usually sees most growth as the plants mature, and young Ponytail Palm’s tend to have a much more narrow stem. I’m not aware of anything else you can do aside from watering correctly and choosing the right size pot (1-2 inches larger than the caudex) that are effective at getting them to swell/grow, although I’m sure you are already aware of these.

      Obviously potassium is very beneficial for overall growth and plant function, so it sounds like you’re doing things right!

  2. For taller growth I successfully use 15-5-30 once a most and stick with 10-10-30 in between. Dilution rates 1kg into 10 ltr water and dose at 2%. Only in very warm time of year. Much weaker at other times and depending on the weather, perhaps none in winter. Hot and dry winters here for 2 years 2021-2022.


Leave a Comment