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Elephant foot or nolina plant: care

Elephant foot or nolina plant: care

The formerly known as Nolina recurvataalso called elephant foot, has recently been classified in the genus Beaucarnea. They are very striking plants due to their sculptural appearance, which is why they are highly valued as ornamental plants in gardening and decoration, because although it grows much better and taller outdoors, it can also be kept indoors, although only if it is spacious. .

If you like to have it at home and want to know what are the elephant foot or nolina plant carejoin us in this EcologíaVerde article in which we offer you a practical guide with all the details about its characteristics, how to take care of it and how to reproduce it.

Elephant foot or nolina plant: characteristics

The Beaucarnea recurvata is a succulent plant native to Mexico, where it is protected, and other Central American countries. You can learn more Types of succulent plants in this other post.

In the wild it can reach heights up to 10 metersbut when planted in a pot it is rare for it to exceed a meter or meter and a half, although with this height indoors it is considered one of the tallest indoor plants and, in fact, it is widely used as a decorative plant.

Its most characteristic feature is that it has few branches and that its trunk that widens at the base in a very striking way to give space to the water reserves of the plant, thus giving the elephant foot plant its peculiar shape and for which it is given this name. Its leaves are thin and long, falling towards the ground with a certain curvature, and are of a very beautiful intense green color. The plant can produce small light-colored flowers, although it takes many years to do so, around 10 years.

Now that you know its characteristics, we will explain how to take care of an elephant foot or nolina plant. It is a very slow-growing plant, but despite this it is very easy to care for, as is the case with many succulents. If you are new to caring for plants, most succulents tend to be plants that have very identifiable weak points and that withstand carelessness quite well. Let’s see what are the main care of the Beaucarnea recurvata.

Elephant's foot or nolina plant: care - Elephant's foot or nolina plant: characteristics

light for noline

The natural climate of this plant is the desert, so it is not difficult to imagine that it is a species that appreciates receive a lot of light. It can tolerate locations where it does not receive direct light, so it is used as an indoor plant, but the health of your plant will be much better if you place it next to a very bright window.

Elephant foot or nolina plant: care - Light for the nolina

elephant foot irrigation

Excess watering is one of the great weak points of most succulents. These plants are not prepared to receive large amounts of water, so exposing them to very high humidity will cause their roots and stems to rot and the plant to get sick or die. To make sure that don’t overwater itcheck that you have a good drainage and wait until the top layer of your substrate has dried before watering it again.


The other major danger for the elephant foot is the cold, which is another reason why the plant is usually grown indoors. Due to its desert nature, the Beaucarnea recurvata does not support temperatures below 10 ºC.

Fertilizer for the elephant foot plant

Since it is a slow-growing plant, it requires very little fertilizer. With one subscriber per month in the warmer months, it will be enough for her. In addition, it is advisable to always use one that is organic or natural. Here we explain how to make homemade organic fertilizer for plants.

Pruning the elephant foot plant

The elephant foot plant pruning It is not pruning as such, but simply consists of removing the leaves that are spoiling and drying naturally. The plant does not require other types of pruning, but if it becomes necessary for any reason, such as disease or space, it is important to make sure that the tools are sterilized well.

Reproduction of the nolina or elephant foot plant

The elephant foot can reproduce both by seeds and by suckers. The good thing about doing it by suckers, apart from the great amount of time saved, is that we ensure that the new plant will be the same as the mother plant. To reproduce it with this method, you simply have to separate the shoots or shoots that the mother plant forms at the base of the trunk, as is the case with many other succulent plants. To do so follow these steps to reproduce the elephant foot or nolina plant by suckers or shoots:

  1. Make sure that the suckers are already a good size so that they can continue to grow together.
  2. Separate them very carefully with the help of a previously sterilized fork, trying to damage the roots as little as possible.
  3. Transplant them into a pot with a suitable substrate for succulent plants and remember to water at the end of the transplant. Here you can learn more about How to transplant a plant.
  4. Leave the pot in a location with a warm temperature of at least 24ºC, and if possible in the shade, to avoid the stress of fighting against the sun in those first days.
  5. Once the plant begins to put out its first shoots, you can place it in the sun next to the mother plant or in any other location you want for it, since it will have already got used to its new environment.

For more information, below you can see a video on the care of the elephant foot plant.

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