Binomial name: Beaucarnea recurvata
Characteristics: Succulent tree species known for its slender foliage and unusual, bottle-shaped trunk.
Seeds per packet: 20
Description: Seed can be sown throughout the year indoors in a mini glasshouse.
Planting medium: A mixture of 4 parts coarse sand, 2 parts milled peat, 1 part perlite and 1 part sterile potting soil.
Optimum germination temperature: 21°C.
- Rub one side of seed with a nail file until a pale spot forms. Do not rub all the way through the seed coat because the seed will not germinate. This is known as scarifying the seed, and it weakens the dense, impermeable outer hull to help with germination.
- Cover the seed with warm water and place a dishcloth or wet sponge on it to hold it beneath the surface while it soaks. Leave it in the bowl of water for 24 hours. Drain the seed just before sowing.
- Create a mini glasshouse. Follow instructions here.
- Fill a 3-inch pot with a mixture of 4 parts coarse sand, 2 parts milled peat, 1 part perlite and 1 part sterile potting soil. Leave the top 1/2 inch of the container empty. Moisten the top few inches with water and let it drain for a few minutes.
- Set one seed on the surface of the planting medium in each container. Gently press it into the surface until it is halfway buried. Spread a 1/8-inch-thick layer of coarse sand over the seed. Mist the sand with water to settle it.
- Arrange container on a heat pad and cover with plastic wrap or a plastic lid. Set the temperature on heat pad to 21°C.
- Put mini glasshouse in indirect sun. Do not put in direct sun, as this will dry the planting medium.
- Water seeds with a spray bottle whenever the planting medium feels mostly dry just beneath the surface. Avoid making the planting medium soggy, but do not allow it to dry out completely while the seeds are germinating.
- Watch for sprouting in approximately one to two months. Remove the plastic wrap and the heat pad once the ponytail palm seeds sprout. Continue to water whenever the growing mixture is mostly dry, but water at the base of the seedling rather than spraying water from above.
- Grow seedlings under very warm, bright conditions indoors.