Elephant's Foot

Elephant's Foot

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The Elephant's Foot (Beaucarnea recurvata), also commonly known as a Ponytail Palm, is a unique plant with a palm-like appearance native to eastern Mexico.

Interestingly, it's not actually a palm or any sort of tree. Instead, it's a type of succulent and is more closely related to plants belonging to the Yucca or Agave genera.

This plant gets both of its common names from its appearance - the bulbous trunk and flowing fronds make it easily recognizable!

Elephant's Foot


The Elephant's Foot plant is designed to be able to withstand extended periods of little or no rainfall, as they store water in their large trunk. Therefore, it's important not to overwater this plant.

Can live for a really long time if it gets the right amount of light and water. You should particularly make sure not to water it too much.

Note that these plants grow very slowly, so don't worry if yours doesn't seem to be 'progressing'. As long as its care needs are being met it is probably just taking its time. Because of their slow growth, it can be expensive to buy a more mature Elephant's Foot. However, if you have the patience, then buying a smaller, young plant is much more affordable and it will then stay with you for many years.

Ideally, you should place your Elephant's Foot somewhere with access to bright light, although you should then keep an eye on it to make sure that the leaves don't get burnt from too much direct sunlight. If you start to notice brown / burnt-looking marks on the leaves, try moving it somewhere a bit more sheltered or, for example, placing a thin sheer curtain on the window to help filter out some of the light.

Elephant's Foot 2


Your Elephant's Foot can sometimes take a bit of time to adjust to change. If you want to move yours, for instance, from a darker place to a sunnier spot, you should do this gradually to avoid 'shocking' the plant. To do this, just move it for a few hours each day and then put it back in its original spot. Gradually increase the time over the span of a week or so to allow it to get accustomed to the change in light conditions. This will help your plant to stay as happy and healthy as possible.

There are some registered wild-grown Beaucarneas in Mexico that are over 350 years old! However, they're unfortunately now at risk in the wild due to the destruction and pollution of their natural habitat.