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What Is this Plant That Looks Like An Elephant Foot?

Ask the Expert: elephants foot plant

I have an elephants foot plant. That was the name given when I purchased the plant. The base does look more like foot, like a medium brown and rough. The “leaves” are long and thin and look similar to a spider but totally green. I love the plant and the leaves or fronds just continue to grow. At the top of the the little trunk is where the leaves crop out from small clusters of smaller versions of the foot or trunk like base.
Can you please help me identify this plant and tell me if I can remove the small ones to start another plant? If so, how would I do that? Rose


Pony Tail Palm

Pony Tail Palm

Does you plant look like the one in the picture to the right? If so the plant is a Beaucarnea recurvata, also know as a Ponytail Palm.

This plant is propagated from suckers that appear at the base of the plant not from the top.  It can be started from seeds.  However, it take quite a while to get a plant of any size from seeds.

This plant is very easy to care for. Keep in mind over-watering can be a problem for this plant. Water it deeply but allow it to dry out before you water it. Give it plenty of light. When I have grown these in the past, I basically ignore them and they thrive.  I think that is why I loe this plant.

Good Luck and keep me posted.


  1. Hi,I just noticed mine got a flower

    Attached Image: 002.jpg

  2. Wow,
    I didn’t know they would bloom.

  3. Fred Sanstrom says:

    Hi I was wondering how much these Pony Tail Palms are, how fast they grow, and where could I buy one in the Croydon (Victoria) area. Could you please tell me. Thanks, Fred

  4. I’m not sure how much a ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) runs in your area. I would try your local garden center and nursery or florist.

    Although they are slow growers, they can grow well over 5 feet in height. They are drought tolerant and easy to grow.

  5. When do you repot this plant and what type of soil is best to use.

  6. Graham, a good, general purpose houseplant potting soil should work fine for an elephant foot.

  7. Jeannie Seidl says:

    What happens after the bloom ? Does the plan die? We’ve had our for 14 years and this is the first bloom……we love it……

    Attached Image: DSC00013.jpg

  8. Bodo Seidl says:

    What happens after the plant blooms ? Does it die ? We have had our elephant foot for 14 years.

    Attached Image: DSC00013.jpg

  9. Jeannie, the plant should be fine. I would cut the bloom off when it starts to decline and remove any unsightly leaves at the same time. Then proceed as usual.

  10. Bodoni, the plant will be fine. Simply due head the bloom when it declines and remove any unsightly leaves. Then care for the plant as you always have.

  11. rebecca cook says:

    I was so sad to see someone had vandalized my ponytail palm. All that is left is some stem and the foot.
    what are the chances of survival. I live in San Diego.

  12. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Rebecca!
    Your Ponytail Palm should make a recovery, as long as some of the stem is still intact. You will want to cut the remaining stem at a 45 degree angle, and lightly mist the stem every couple of days to encourage new growth.
    Let us know how your plant does!

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