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Why are the blades on Ponytail Palm brown and crispy?

Your Ponytail Palm can go weeks between watering, so overwatering is extremely common. Overwatering and improper drainage will cause blades to yellow and drop. Brown and crispy blades can occur when the plant is underwatered and left dry for too long.

Ponytail Palm: Bloomscape

Clean it up

First, let’s clean up your plant. This allows the plant to direct its energy to new healthy growth.


  • Remove the entire brown fronds (they will not turn green again) or the effected portion with a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears.  
  • Wipe the blades of your scissors with rubbing alcohol between each snip.  
  • You may need to trim your plant in stages because you never want to remove more than 20% of the affected leaves at one time–this could shock your plant.

    Now, let’s get your Ponytail Palm thriving again. 



Soil dry for too long

Your Ponytail Palm is very drought-tolerant, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about it completely. Be sure you’re not over or underwatering your plant. Keep a consistent watering schedule–water when the soil is completely dry.


If you accidentally leave your Ponytail Palm’s soil completely dry for too long, you may see leaves go limp, droop, and possibly start to brown and curl. You may also notice the trunk start to wrinkle and go limp. If the soil is extremely dry all the way through the pot and you’re noticing signs of extreme underwatering, a thorough soak is in order. 


Here’s how to soak-water your Ponytail Palm:


  1. Place your plant in your sink or tub without the saucer. Fill your basin up with about 3-4″ of water. Make sure the water isn’t hot! 
  2. Allow your plant to soak up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot for at least 45 min. 
  3. Feel the top of the soil after your plant has been soaking–has the water reached the top 2-3” of soil?
  4. If not all the soil feels saturated, water your Ponytail Palm lightly from the top of the soil to help speed up the saturation.
  5. When your plant’s soil is evenly damp, drain the sink/tub and allow the plant to rest while it drains thoroughly. Place the plant back on its saucer and back in its proper spot.

Ponytail Palm

Fun, distinct, and hardy. This plant is low-maintenance and adaptable.
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Need more help?

We're confident your Ponytail Palm will be back to normal in no-time, but if you've followed the steps above and things just aren't improving you can contact us here.