How Do You Revive a Dying Ponytail Palm? – The Complete Guide

One fine morning, you stepped into your beloved garden and raised your eyebrows seeing your Ponytail palm is dying. 9 out of 10 gardeners will have this question popped up in their mind- ‘How do you revive a dying Ponytail palm?’.

And we guess, you’re within the usual ones. 

To be honest, bringing the plant’s life back will be kind of painstaking. You don’t need a whole day to fix it. Just keep a fair amount of time in your hand. 

Whatever, we tried to make your path as simple as it can be and brought here exactly what you need to know. 

Without beating around the bush, let’s just get into it!  

Photo of a ponytail palm plant sitting on a table
Photo by Renataka600

Why Is Your Ponytail Palm Dying?

Dying rubber plant and your ponytail palm are not quite different right now, are they? However, the answer to this death might differ. Looking at the reasons behind this might be help you get the solutions.  

Besides, a ponytail palm mainly faces difficulties due to Overwatering/Underwatering. 

But this is not the end. There are some more reasons why your ponytail palm will seek attention showing some illnesses. Have a look at them: 

  • Low-quality fertilizer
  • Low-quality soil
  • Fertilizer is too close to the roots
  • Planting palm trees at the wrong depth
  • Not enough or too much sunlight 

What Will Tell You That Your Palm Tree Is Dying?

Well, it’s crucial to know the symptoms which will tell you that your plant isn’t feeling well. From this article, you’ll get comprehensive information about the causes, symptoms, and solutions to your plant’s unusual behavior. 

There are 4 most common cases where a ponytail palm is going to die. These are:

  • Ponytail Palm root and stem rot
  • Ponytail Palm with droopy leaves
  • Ponytail Palm leaves turning brown and crispy
  • Ponytail Palm leaves turning yellow and dropping 

How To Bring Your Dying Ponytail Palm Back to Life?

As your beloved palm tree is going to lose its life, it’s normal to feel twitchy. But, as you are in the right place, you’ll find salvation here. 

So, no need to freak out. We will walk you through the easy ways to fight with the 4 above-mentioned problems. Let’s get started! 

Ponytail Palm Root and Stem Rot

This case is usually indicative of overwatering. You may know that Ponytail palm is a desert plant that thrives in well-drained soil. In case the plant has to wet through sodden soil or excessive moisture, it will show the signs of root and stem rot.

What Are the Signs of Root and Stem Rot?

A ponytail palm with root and stem rot will show some specific signs:

  • Squishy or soft caudex 
  • Slowed growth
  • Wilted or yellow leaves 
  • Discolored and mushy roots 

How To Solve This Problem?

By the time the above-mentioned signs appear, unfortunately, your plant has already been decaying for quite some days. It’s near to impossible to redeem your plant unless the rot is caught in time. But if you manage to do so, withholding water and ensuring the right soil drainage will be enough to revive your plant. 

If instead, the rot is advanced, here’s what you have to do:

  1. Remove the plant from the pot and remove the affected parts of your plant using a clean and sharp knife.
  2. Repot the plant in a new container. Make sure the new pot is well-draining and with a hole at the bottom (preferably made of clay).

Ponytail Palm with Droopy Leaves 

This is perfectly showing that your plant is suffering from dehydration. Though it is a desert plant, it can’t live without water for months. A dehydrated Ponytail Palm will primarily show these two symptoms: 

  • Droopy leaves going brown and starting curl 
  • The wrinkled trunk that goes limp

How To Solve This Problem?

Here’s how you will revive your droopy Ponytail palm:

  1. Place the potted Ponytail palm in a sink. Now, fill it with cold water to a 3-4”(7.6-10.2cm) level.
  2. Leave your plant in the water for 45 minutes and let the soil soak through the hole (at the bottom of the pot). You can be sure that the caudex has absorbed a good amount of moisture when at least 3” of the soil will be soaked.
  3. Once all the soil is moist, remove the pot from the sink and leave the plant inside for a while. It will let it drain any standing water.
  4. Finally, replace your plant on the saucer and back to its usual spot.  

Ponytail Palm Leaves Turning Brown and Crispy

This also happens for dehydration. So, you still need to revive the plant by following the previous-explained steps of Droopy Ponytail palm. If most, not all, the leaves are brown and crispy, remove them with clean and sharp scissors. 

Ponytail Palm Leaves Turning Yellow and Dropping

There are two reasons why the leaves are turning yellow:

  • Overwatering
  • Over application of fertilizer 

How To Solve this Problem?

The first problem can be solved with proper drainage of your plant. No, the yellow part will not turn green and will need to be removed. But, yellowing will be stopped with the proper drainage for the leaves that are still healthy and green. For that you can use an indoor planter with drainage system. 

To solve the second problem, you need to repot the plant in new, well-drained soil and add standard fertilizer in the right portion.

How do you revive a dying ponytail palm? – FAQs

Question: What are the signs of over-watering a Ponytail palm?

Answer: Excess amount of leaves drop from the tree, roots appear brown instead of white, current blossoms quickly drop, and so on. 

Question: My 20 years old outside 16’ is losing its new growth and looks like it’s almost dead. Can I save its life?

Answer: Yes, you can certainly bring them back into life by following the provided steps, the time isn’t over.

Question: Is there anything I should keep in mind when using fertilizer?

Answer: Yes, always keep fertilizer at least 2 ft away from roots (or the fertilizer can burn them).


So, this is what we stored for you. Hopefully, at the end of our discussion, ‘How do you revive a dying ponytail palm?’ isn’t a tough question for you. 

The last words for you, don’t feel lazy to look after your plants. No, you don’t need to grow extra eyes in the back of your head. But, at least don’t put the tasks off for the next weekend. 

Well, it’s not too late to save your ponytail palm. Gear up and go for it!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Celina Nance

It’s been a life-long wish of Celina Nance to have a lawn full of colorful flower beds. But living in Arizona city, that seems kind of impossible. But Celina Nance didn’t stop and created a full-form balcony garden instead. And he often shares stuff that he does/solves/innovates throughout the journey.

Recent Posts