Beaucarnea guatemalensis, also named Nolina guatemalensis, the Red Ponytail Palm and Elephant Foot, is native to semi-desert regions of Mexico and Guatemala. Beacarneas are closely related to Yuccas and thrive under the same conditions. This plant is suitable for growing indoors. The plant usually has only one stem until it reaches 2 meters tall. Plants in nature will reach about 7 to 9 meters in height with a base about 3 meters across. Beaucarnea can live for decades.
The Red Ponytail Palm is a very unique looking tree. It features a very large, wrinkled, swollen base, and very thin, long, 1 inch wide by 6 foot long, dark green grass-like leaves emerging from the top of the trunk. The swollen trunk stores water, which means that it doesn't need to be watered often. The leaves emerge bright red and turn to green as they mature. The edges of the leaves are slightly rough.
The small creamy white flowers are produced only on older trees, in mid-summer. Although they are small, they come in large quantities and form a showy display.
Hardiness zones 9-11, (-5øC/25øF, 5øC/40øF) in winter. Older plants survive lower temperatures. Beaucarnea guatemalensis need full sun to light shade. Use a mix with good drainage, for instance a good cactus mix.
They are very drought tolerant. Water every 3 weeks during the growing season and fertilize it only once during this period. When the plant is in pot, water very sparingly in winter to prevent rot. During the winter months, water only enough to keep the foliage from wilting. Over-watering is the single most frequent cause of failure when growing Beaucarneas.