Don’s Expert Answers: Asking if I can cut plant in half – will it regrow and branch out, or if I make a deep cut, will it sprout from there?

Question From:
Anne Oxley in Tewantin, Tewantin Queensland

Nature of problem:
Asking if I can cut plant in half – will it regrow and branch out, or if I make a deep cut, will it sprout from there?

Type of Plant (if known):
Ponytail Palm – Beaucarnea recurvata

Symptoms of Plant Illness (please try NOT to diagnose your problems yourself):
Tall and Leggy –

Soil Type (e.g. sandy, clay or loam) OR Potting Mix Type:
Potted years ago, and now (possibly) root bound.

How often do you water the plant:
Gets natural rain, or if the moss on the top of the pot looks dry, will water!!

How many hours of sunlight does the plant get each day:
6-8

How long since you planted it:
About 14 years ago?

Have you fertilised? If so, with what and when:
No

Is the plant indoors or outdoors:
Outdoors

Is the plant in a pot or in the ground:
Potted

What other treatments have you given the plant:
Nothing

Upload photo if available:

Other Comments:
Photo now 5 years old, but plant in same position in same pot!! I realise need to repot, and if I can “prune” it (as queried above) may also seek a new pot, but ……….
The current pot is plastic, was self watering, but does not seem to have been damaged by the plant. Think there is no room for any soil, and only a bit of moss-like plant at the top.

Definitely much more leggy and leaves not so lush as depicted

Answer:
Hi Anne, Cutting the plant back will be fine and it will bush up. It is essential to re-pot the plant. Getting the plant out of the pot will be challenging. If you have access to a strong male, get him to hold the plant & pot up in the air by the plant’s trunk, then firmly tap the edge of the pot downwards with a lump hammer or maybe hold a flat plank of wood on the pot edge and belt it down with a normal hammer. The new pot should be a similar shape with a wide top & a narrower base and be no less than 70cm wide. Use Osmocote Premium potting mix. Don