ponytail party

by Jessica Hill

Pick up any interiors magazine you’ll be sure to notice there’s a new trend emerging. It’s the eighties. There’s a bit of terrazzo, some soft pastels and you might even see some Memphis Milano inspired pieces. And of course, indoor plants were everywhere. 

There’s one plant that really reminds me of the eighties. It’s not the classic rubber plant, or the maidenhair fern. It’s a plant that rocks a classic eighties hairstyle: the Ponytail palm. 

Growing out of its bulbous trunk sprout long, thin leaves that look like they’re held into place by an invisible scrunchy. 

Despite its name, the Ponytail palm isn’t a palm at all. It’s not a tree either. It’s actually a member of the Agave family. It’s a succulent native to the arid, desert regions of Mexico and south states of the United States. 

These guys get big. In the wild it can grow up to 30ft tall and its trunk can expand to 9ft in diameter. But inside will grow to the size of their pot, just like a goldfish. 

The Ponytail palm is the most forgiving plant you can find. It does prefer bright, dry conditions but will cope just fine living inside. I’ve also heard this plant is so tough it will grow in a very dimly lit space for half the year, as long as you place it outside during the summer months. 

The most important thing to remember is: do not to overwater. Give them a good soak once a fortnight in summer and once every month in winter. Bad plant parent disclosure: I forgot to water my Ponytail palm for four months. Luckily for me the Ponytail palm has an insurance policy. It can collect and store water in its trunk. So it’s better to be a bit neglectful. 

Also watch out for when your Ponytail palm becomes pot bound, or when its trunk is swollen from collecting water. They’ve been known to crack their pots as they expand. 

So if you’re an eighties child like me, or want to add an easy to care for plant to your collection, you can’t beat the Ponytail palm. #itsplantporn



Jessica Hill is a freelance journalist who is interested in the relationship between plants and people. Follow her on Instagram @plantsunknown.