Beaucarnea: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Beaucarnea is a genus of the Nolinaceae family that groups 11 species, 10 of which are native to Mexico. All of these are known by the name of the elephant’s foot and are known for their great ornamental value.

Within this group, there are 5 species that are most popular and in demand, these are: Beaucarnea goldmanii , B. gracilis , B. inermis , B. pliabilis and B. recurvata . Culture information for B. recurvata will be shared in this guide .

The beaucarnea is a plant that is characterized by thickening of the stem in part of its base, which is similar, almost identically to the leg of an elephant.

As with other plants of the genus, Beaucarnea recurvata is classified as an endangered species due to the rapid loss of its ecosystem, as well as being subjected to overexploitation and illegal trade.

Important points when sowing beaucarnea:
  • Scientific name: Beaucarnea recurvata, Nolina recurvata, Dasylirion inerme.
  • Common name: Nolina, elephant foot, nun palm, apachite, petacona palm, pot-bellied palm.
  • Height: 4 to 15 meters.
  • Light requirement: direct light and semi-shade.
  • Temperature: Warm and temperate climates (15ºC to 28ºC).
  • Irrigation: Scarce.
  • Fertilizer : Organic fertilizer.

What characteristics does beaucarnea have?

The beaucarnea is a similar plant a tree and has male and female specimens. It grows to 4 to 15 m tall in open spaces, but it rarely exceeds 1.5 m in pots.

The stem of this plant is gray or dark brown in color and has a rough texture, with shallow cracks. Its base is conical and globose in shape, which extends up to 3 m at the bottom. Its branches are elongated and brittle. Leaves grouped in rosettes sprout from the ends.

Botanicly Houseplant – Elephant Foot – Height: 79 cm – Beaucarnea recurvata

The leaves are narrow, curved, green to light green in color, and can be 1 to 1.5 m long. On the other hand, being a dioecious species, beaucarnea produces female or male flowers in each specimen. These are small, numerous, yellow to reddish in color and are grouped in large inflorescences.

They generally bloom from March to June. Regarding the fruit , this is a small, ovoid-shaped capsule, pale yellow in color, which sprout from June to February. Inside it contains multiple small, globose seeds , shiny brown in color.

When to sow the beaucarnea?

It is recommended to cultivate the beaucarnea for seeds during the spring , in the months of February to March. In the case of cuttings, it can be done during spring and summer .

Where to plant the beaucarnea?

The beaucarnea is typical of hot , dry climates with an average temperature of 20 ° C, but can range between 15 ° C and 28 ° C; so it is not resistant to intense cold or frost.

Well-lit spaces favor it, where it can be exposed to direct sunlight.

It can be planted in open spaces such as public and domestic gardens, squares or ridges. It can also be grown in pots and kept indoors.

How to prepare the land?

The beaucarnea flourishes in soil rich in organic matter, but light and well drained. It is recommended to grow it in a substrate composed of black soil, compost and fine tepezil or perlite, at a 1: 1: 1 ratio.

Sana Universal Quality Compo for pots with 12 weeks of compost for Indoor Plants, terrace and garden, Growing Substrate, 10 L

To improve the terrain you can also apply organic fertilizer, either peat, manure mixed with black earth or worm castings, to accelerate growth. In pot it should be applied every 6 months and in gardens, once a year.

BLATTWERK Pure – 1.000ml: 100% organic and vegan fertilizer, complete liquid herbal nutrients, for indoor and garden plants, with amino acids, lactic acids, sugars and minerals.

How do we water the beaucarnea?

Irrigation is vital for the development of the elephant foot . Overwatering damages the plant and opens the way for pathogens to appear on the stems and roots.

It is advisable to water generously during spring and summer, and to do so whenever the substrate dries. On the other hand, during the fall and winter, watering should be gradually decreased and discontinued.

How often do we water the beaucarnea?

Watering during early stages should be applied daily and lightly. As soon as they reach a height of between 10 and 20 centimeters, it should be done every 2 days.

Horsetail Palm, Elephant Foot Seeds – Nolina recurvata – 12 Seeds

If the beaucarnea reaches a height of between 20 and 50 centimeters, it should be applied once a week; If it exceeds 50 centimeters in height, it must be watered twice a month.

How to sow a beaucarnea step by step?

As it is a tree in critical condition, its propagation has been promoted by various routes: seed, cuttings, shoot induction, rooting, in vitro and tissue culture. The steps to grow beaucarnea from seeds are shared below .

By seed

  1. Place the seeds in a container with water for 1 day so that the coating softens.
  2. Sow the seeds in trays, less than 1 centimeter deep, every 1 or 2 centimeters apart. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of substrate composed of black soil , compost and perlite or vermiculite.
  3. Water daily, lightly, to keep the substrate with adequate humidity.
  4. Locate in areas protected from direct sunlight. It can be kept outside using a mesh with 80% shade.
  5. Wait 2 to 3 weeks for germination to take place.
  6. Transplant the seedlings into pots 6 centimeters high by 7 centimeters wide, when they have reached 5 or 7 centimeters.
  7. Transplant again when the seedling has grown 15 centimeters tall or more. In this state of development they can be sown in their final place.

What care does beaucarnea need?

The beaucarnea needs little care and maintenance. Only the humidity status of the substrate should be monitored so that it does not suffer from water stress or saturation.

Beaucarnea recurvata (5 Seeds)

Also, if it is indoors, it will be important to maintain good ventilation and rotate the plant at 90º after each watering so that it grows evenly.

What pests and diseases affect beaucarnea?

The beaucarnea is very durable and not often affected by pests or diseases.

Flower 20535 20535-Insecticide, Not Applicable, 6.5 × 6.5 × 29.5 cm

However, the presence of snails, mites, mealybugs, spider mites, scales (Diaspididae) , nematodes (Meloidogynidae, Hoplolaimidae) , fungi (Ascomycota, Hyphomycete) , among others , has been recorded .

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