Friday, August 13, 2010

A Beaucarnea of a Dilema

This is just a short post to ask your opinions on something. I love ponytail palms and would like to start my own from seeds. Obviously I couldn't just do things the easy way and decide to go with the common variety.

After scouring through six possible species I've narrowed it down to either Beaucarnea recurvata (common variety) or Beaucarnea guatemalensis. So what one do you think is best? For kicks here's another crazy one that looks like a cross with a yucca called Beaucarnea stricta. I think I have a favourite, but I won't go through my reasoning until after I get a few responses so I don't influence anyone.


  1. Well, if you don't have any already, then it seems like you may as well start with recurvata. I mean, if it's the common one, then it must do something right.

    I haven't personally met a guatemalensis or stricta, though. Maybe if I had, I would have a different preference.

  2. Man... I was accidentally logged in as DC State Fair and lost my comment before I could post it when I logged out.

    Short answer: B. stricta. It looks AWESOME.

  3. B. stricta looks awesome. The spiky leaves, the textured caudex... I'd go for that one for sure.

  4. The ones in my yard and neighborhod are all the recurvata, so I am partial.

    The B. stricta is like something from another planet...I think it would suit you, Captain (of the starship)!

  5. I completely understand the hesitance to go with the usual suspects, as I'm always on the lookout for something unusual. My hope is that I can grow them and provide much needed info about the plants that have a lot of landscape potential but are currently underutilized. Personally, the long and weepy leaves are alright, but stricta seems more my type. Here's a link to a variegated kind!

  6. @mr_subjunctive, I like to find my favourite species first to avoid having hundreds of houseplants. Once I've got one, it's hard to part. I'd be fine living in a forest but James wouldn't.

    @Everyone Else, B. stricta is my favourite, BUT I already have two Yucca rostrata which look exactly the same (except for caudex) and are hardy here. That is what's making my decision difficult. I don't want too plants that are too similar. B. guatemalensis also looks less messy and has larger leaves.

  7. Aaerelon:

    That's why you add plants slowly, over a long period. James won't notice if it's gradual enough.

    Also you can do things like take a bunch of cuttings of a plant you already have, making sure he knows that no new plant material was brought in so you can argue that you're not actually adding more plants, and then at some point you can pot two of the propagated plants together, which also doesn't count as adding new plant material, but, now you have one less plant than you used to, so you can justify bringing in a new one. It's all about playing with the definitions of words.

    Placing plants "temporarily" on open spaces, just for a short quarantine period, and then never moving them elsewhere is another good technique I've gotten a lot of mileage out of.

    Just trying to help.

  8. You did great job! Thanks for such nice post. Keep posting! Hope I will back soon.


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