House Plants/Ponytail Palm


I read one of your answers regarding my Ponytail Palm but now am wondering if it requires or appreciates any special type of plant food.  I found out recently that some of my plants are acid loving and have been thriving on Miracid.  I want to give my palm the correct type of food.

Thank you.

Hi Geri,

The value of plant food for indoor potted plants is vastly over stated. Indoors, plants are growing under less than ideal conditions and use nutrients in very minute quantities. It takes several years for nutrients to be depleted from plants grown in good potting mixes. Plant food is not medicine and cannot be used to improve plant health unless the plant has been diagnosed with a specific nutrient deficiency.

I cannot comment on your plants that have apparently thrived with Miracid. It may be that they are responding to improvements in your care, not the Miracid. If you let me know which species you have, I can tell you whether an acidic soil is warranted. Most common indoor plants, including Ponytail Palms should not be given Miracid.

If you are going to use plant food, for most indoor plants a 3-1-2 nitrogen-potassium- phosphorus ratio is best. In addition, the plant food should include minor and trace minerals listed on the label. Foliage Pro by Dyna Gro makes an excellent general fertilizer for indoor plants.

If you opt to add plant food, remember that more plants are damaged by excess fertilizer than from inadequate nutrients. The label directions are for healthy plants grown in ideal greenhouse conditions. Thus, it is best to dilute any plant food to half-strength and use it monthly only when the plant is healthy and growing vigorously.

Optimum light and proper watering are far more important to healthy growth than plant food.

I have written detailed articles on fertilizing and on Ponytail Palm care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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