Monday, January 21, 2013

Nolina recurvata

The Pony Tail plant makes an ideal plant for a tub specimen. Once known as Beaucarnea recurvata it is now generally accepted as Nolina recurvata. Related to the yuccas, this evergreen small tree has adapted to its dry habitat in Mexico where they thrive for many years as patio specimens on natural water.

In areas of high summer rainfall they do well when given some shelter. They can only be grown in the ground in a frost-free dry climate. Nolina recurvata can be grown as an indoor plant in temperate areas. The main precaution when growing these plants is not to be tempted to over water them. These plants can store up to a years supply of water in their roots. As they age they develop swollen bases with tapering trunks, sprouting long, narrow leaves, often quite pendulous.

These plants need to be provided with well-drained soil and, although they will respond to being watered during summer, they should be kept dry during winter. They are relatively slow growing and are generally purchased as two year old plants in 20 cm pots or eight year olds in 30 cm pots. Their root run is not very extensive so they can remain in a tub for a considerable time. The specimen shown was planted out forty-seven years ago and has more than doubled its girth since then. Propagation is from seed or offsets taken from the parent plant in spring.

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