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House Plants/Beaucarnea Recurvata. Elephant foot/Ponytail plant,


Hi Will, I have a very 'old faithful' elephant plant 25 years old. 12 inch round the base of the 'foot' and about 15/16 inch high.In the current pot it has just under 2 inch space round about. I would love the plant to grow bigger and have bought a new pot which will give it 4 inch space round about.I have repotted it about 3 times in its life, last time about 3, 5 years ago.Always used the general black multi purpose soil. Can you please advice me if I should mix some cactus soil with the multi purpose? The plan is to leave the plant in this bigger pot for years to come. Looking forward to your response, Sonja

I think you accidentally sent your question to me...Sounds like your black multi purpose soil mix has worked real well for you...If you add cactus mix to the equation you may have to adjust your watering schedule...The soil will dry out faster...If planted outside in the ground in tropical areas ponytail plants can grow to 20-30' tall...
I water most plants by weight. I put a saucer under the pot , water and let the plant sit in the excess water for 5-10 minutes. After that time I remove any excess water in the saucer. I pick up or lean the pot to check for weight. It should feel heavy. Don't water again until it feels considerably lighter in weight. Then check it every 3-10 days or longer. Watering frequency depends on many factors(type of plant,light exposure, temps, humidity, etc.).
Also most indoor tropical plants require you to add fertilize on a weekly to monthly basis during the growing season. Visit your local garden center (not chain store) and see what they recommend for your particular plants...
Spray misting and humidity requirements will vary from plant to plant...Misting once or twice a week will help keep the plant clean. Overdoing it can cause mold and fungi problems.

Sounds like you are doing OK taking care of your plant already...But this info may help some...
Good luck...
Rick in southern New Jersey USA

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Richard Hern


I can answer many common garden center/greenhouse houseplant questions such as , proper care, propagation of, pest problems, identification, growing mediums, construction, etc. & many more..


I currently manage a private 16 acre estate. i am in charge of the general maintenance of buildings and i supervise the landscape maintenance staff. i teach landscape/horticulture evening classes for a community college in NJ. I taught landscape/horticultural classes for a NJ vocational high school for 5 years. prior to that I owned & operated a landscape/garden center facility for 20 + years. My experience is in commercial & residential sales & care of houseplants as well as landscaping.


BS degree in Zoology (Entomology)
Certified landscape/horticulture teacher NJ

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