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Container Ponytail Palm Trees

Q.Ponytail plant

Zone 2290 | leone added on November 28, 2014 | Answered

I have a large potted ponytail plant. While moving, the top of the plant was knocked off. Can I save the base of the plant at all, if so, how?

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Answered on November 28, 2014

Plants are quite unlike animals, in that if their heads get lopped off, they usually survive, by growing new heads. The thing to understand is that a plant's real head, where all the essential life stuff is going on, is under the soil - we call that part the roots. The leaves are more like a farm or factory that produces the food you live on. All but the most unhealthy plants store up food so they'll have the energy to build new food factories, if something should happen to them. So your ponytail should start putting out new leaves from the top, although it may take a few weeks. Just keep in the same light it was growing in, and take care not let the soil stay wet; remember, it doesn't have leaves to transpire water, so it will be using much less. As I'm sure you know, the ponytail needs to have the soil get almost dry clear down near the bottom of the pot, before watering again. If the plant is getting a little too tall, this would be a good time to cut back the trunk even more. And you should attempt to root the broken off leaves; there's a good chance you'll be able to produce another plant. Just dip whatever is left of the top trunk under the head of leaves into rooting hormone and stick into rooting medium. Keep slightly damp and in the same kind of light the mother is in. Again, be patient; some of the lower leaves may turn yellow, just cut them off with scissors, and give it time, like a month or two. None of this is "for sure," but you have a good chance of success.

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