Q. My pony-tail palm has sprouted a new plant on the side of the root ball. What should I do about this?
Beaucarnia recurvata, sometimes called pony-tail palm, is in the Asparagaceae family of plants. The swollen stem base resembles an elephant's foot. The base serves as a water reservoir during dry periods. It is native to Texas and Mexico. The stem tapers upward above the swollen base and is topped with a mass of hanging curly leaves.
Sometimes suckers grow near the base. You can leave the suckers to grow--creating a bushier tree--or remove them. If you prefer a single-trunked plant, you can cut the sucker off close to the root ball.
Alternatively, you can use the sucker to produce a new specimen. Do this by removing the sucker and planting it in a new pot with soil similar to the original plant. This is best done in the spring. Keep it well watered until it is established.
In the wild, Beaucarnia can reach a height of 30 feet or more.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides. - Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service