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Propagation For Ponytail Palm

Ask the Expert: Babies on my ponytail plant

I inherited a pony tail plant about 20 years ago.  Recently, It had three babies, growing between the middle and top of the plant.  Do they have to be removed?  Will they hurt my plant if I leave them be?  If I did remove them, can I root them?  If yes, how?  Thank you, I really love this plant!


  1. I have two large ponytails about 18 yrs old and they are both against the brick walls, can they damage the house or water pipes? I am thinking of cutting off all the branches and replanting them using rooting powder so I can kill off and remove the originals as their bases are over a metre wide. Will the branches survive?

  2. Sass,
    You can try to remove the babies by snapping or cutting them off the parent plant and root them to form new plants. I would dip the bottoms in a rooting hormone and place in a lite soil mixture (you can use cactus and succulent potting soil). Keep it moderately moist and in a few weeks it should have new roots.

  3. PaulB,

    I believe the root system of a Ponytail is wide and shallow. I have know it to bust a clay pot if too root-bound, but not sure if it would damage a house or try to go into the water pipes. You can certainly try topping the plant and root it. I am not sure how successful you will be since it is a very slow growing plant. The key would be to keep the plant moist enough to sustain it, but not so moist that it rots. Good luck and please let me know how is goes.

  4. terri christenson says:

    I have a 10 to 12 year old pony tail palm…..had to remove all the leaves. It has a good size bulb and long neck. I want to cut off part of the neck and hopefully get new growth. What do I paint on the stump to protect it. I have seen this done before, but never knew what product to use. Also, will anything kill mealy bugs? Thanks

  5. Terri,
    It’s probably a commercial sealant for pruning you can get at your local nursery or hardware store. As for mealy bugs, try insecticidal soap and see if that works.

  6. I got a ponytail palm from my friend she gave me a baby but ponytail palm but I don’t know how to separate the bolts there’s three of them and I want to separate them and put them in their own pots how do I do that

  7. Tauna,

    You can snap the babies off or cut them off the mother plant. Be sure to dip the cut end in rooting hormone before placing in soil.

  8. Karen Gaulien says:

    Help I have a large pony tail about 28 years old change out pot new soil about 6 years ago has a white cotton looking fungus on it ! What do I do I’ve spryed it and it’s only gotten worst ! I don’t want to lose my plant it was my late mother’s plant ! Summer I put on my deck ! Winters back in my house I have sun beams in sealing and I also put growing lite on it once a week but stopped since it has a fungus on it ! I need help please someone tell me how to get her to live ? Thank you ! Karen

  9. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Karen,
    By the sounds of it, it might not be a fungus you are dealing with, but it might be a pest called the mealybug. To handle the mealybugs, you need to dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol. Then wipe the mealybugs off with the alcohol dipped cotton swab. Repeat this every other day when necessary. You can read more here: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/ponytail-palm-fungus-88422.html