Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata

Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata

As soon as this houseplant is not called, often assigning it the names of other, similar in appearance pot crops (elephant’s foot, bottle tree, horse or ponytail). Correctly it should be called “Beaucarnea recurvata” or “Nolina”. Everyday care at home for this indoor flower will not require much effort, since at home it is not spoiled by nature, surviving in harsh places where rain happens once or twice a year. Due to its unusual shape, it has a spectacular appearance that harmoniously fits into almost any modern interior, especially high-tech and fusion, giving it a special tropical “zest”.

General description

The plant belongs to succulents from the agave family and is able to accumulate a large amount of moisture for the future thanks to the trunk, which is strongly inflated in the lower part.

Nolina-Beaucarnea recurvata
Nolina-Beaucarnea recurvata

Moisture consumption is also controlled by the crown, formed from narrow belt-shaped leaves. In drought and extreme heat, the rosette shrinks into a beam, further reducing the evaporating surface. At home (the USA and northern Mexico), under favorable conditions, a tall tree forms, from the lower very thick bottle part of which several trunks grow, crowned with picturesque falling rosettes of leaves. In room conditions, you can grow a tree with a height of 0.5 m in 5-6 years.

Branching usually occurs after flowering, which is extremely difficult to achieve at home. However, Dutch seedling growers achieve the desired branching by skillful pruning. This takes more than one season, so buying a ready-made copy is very expensive. More often, young seedlings with a bulbous stem shoot go on sale.

The thickening of the trunk is called caudex. Not only rare rainwater is collected here, but also morning dew, which flows into the caudex on the grooved leaves.

Common species

Of the three dozen natural varieties in culture, the following species are the most widespread.

Beaucarnea rejected

The most common variety of “bottle tree”, which has a classic shape. Easy and undemanding in care, it was cultivated in the XIX century. It has very strong leaves, which in Mexico are used as a material for weaving national sombrero hats.

Beaucarnea recurvata compressed

It is appreciated by home florists for its lush spectacular crown with straight hard leaves. The second most popular cultivated species. Relatively winter-hardy, it withstands short-term temperature drops to -5C.

The thickening of the trunk in this species is weakly expressed, the leaves have a bluish tint. In Mexico, this species is called bear grass. Winter hardiness is high, up to -12C.

Nolina Lindemeira

It is the shortest, having practically no trunk. The leaves are very thin, cordy, dry and tough.

Nolina thin (slender)

The name of this species sounds like irony, since the thickness of the trunk is the record holder in terms of volume – in the wild in the lower part it reaches 5-7 m. It blooms only in adulthood and only in natural conditions.

Small gravel or colored pebbles poured into the pot will prevent the formation of a soil crust and emphasize the exoticism of the culture.

How to care fornolina?

Care at home should be carried out taking into account the fact that the plant is a pronounced succulent.

Seat selection, illumination

If most even light-loving houseplants require light shading during the hot midday hours from direct sunlight, nolina tolerates them calmly, so you need to place it on the lightest, southern windowsill. It will not be critical for her and a small partial shade during the day. However, the less light the foliage receives, the less lush it will grow. In the winter season, additional lighting is required on the windowsills of eastern and northern orientation.

Soil requirements

If the nutrient content of the soil Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata is completely undemanding, then it makes high demands on its moisture permeability and aeration. In the wild, it has to be content with infertile soils on rocky-slab bases, so you need to grow nolina at home as close to them as possible. At the same time, the plant is characterized by very unhurried growth, therefore, to obtain a faster result, favorable conditions should be created that do not go against the biological characteristics of the bottle tree. The substrate is composed of leaf and turf soil with a predominance of the first, peat and sand. You can add a little humus. At the bottom of the pot, heavy drainage is arranged for the stability of the dishes. It is not recommended to use claydite for this purpose, if the height of the dishes is not commensurate with the height of the tree.

How to water?

The issue of watering is key in the cultivation of nolina. If you put it on the southern windowsill and water very rarely, with significant exposure after the complete drying of the earthen lump, a stressful situation similar to growing at home will be created. In response, the plant will begin to form a thick “leg” with decorative cracks and scars that appear from the uneven expansion and narrowing of the external tissues. But the leaf rosette will begin to thin and may droop, which will go to the detriment of decorativeness. To maintain the harmony of appearance, you should find a balance. Spraying the crop is usually not necessary, but a rare wet treatment of the leaves will benefit.

Lower watering through a pallet is recommended. The water should be well settled or filtered, without traces of chlorine.

Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata loves summer sun-air baths outside in dry and windless weather.

In the winter season, the plant has an unexpressed period of rest, it is not necessary to water it at this time, it is enough to occasionally moisten the leaves, wiping them with a damp sponge from dust.


Since the vegetative mass accumulates slowly, you should pay attention to the fact that there are no excesses of nitrogen in the soil. This element provokes the softness of the leaves and their hanging, which negatively affects the decorativeness. Occasionally, and only in the warm season, the specimen can be fed with a liquid phosphorus-potassium complex in half the dose of the recommended dose.


Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata loves warmth and even in hot conditions feels good. But it requires rest and a relative phase of rest in the winter season. It is desirable that the temperature at this time remains within + 15 ° C or does not differ from this indicator by more than 5 ⁰.

Crown formation

What form the nolina will have depends on the conditions of its detention. Unlike other indoor exotic trees, the question is not how to prune the Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata to give it the desired shape, but how to water it and where to put it. If you put the pot farther away from the light source and create extreme watering conditions, it will grow a “leg”. Placement in a bright place and more frequent moisturizing will stimulate the growth of “hair”. The trunk can be completely flat. With this adjustment, you can give the instance the desired shape.


Containers with several specimens of seedlings usually go on sale. They require resettlement in separate containers. But do not strive to transplant nolin as quickly as possible after purchase. It should be transplanted only after a week (at least) period of quarantine and adaptation to new conditions.

The roots require careful handling, so if possible, you need to transfer seedlings by transshipment. After the plant is transplanted into a new container, a bag is put on it, leaving access to fresh air. It is not necessary to remove it until there are signs of leaf growth.

Home specimens require transplantation about once every 3 years, but you should focus on the root system, it should completely occupy the volume of dishes by this time. An external sign of the need for a housewarming party is the cessation of leaf growth. The procedure remains the same.

Importantly! The thickened part can not be buried! The stem should remain in the ground at the same level.

Requirements for dishes

The roots of nolina, despite the arid conditions of wild growth, grow not in depth, but in breadth due to the shallow fertile layer of stony soils. For this reason, she needs to select wide and fairly small bowls, paying special attention to their stability. Sometimes for this purpose, several heavy stones are placed at the bottom of the pot, which additionally perform the drainage function that is extremely necessary for the plant.

With the next transplantation of age specimens, the diameter of the container is increased by 4 cm each time.

When transplanting, nolina is not watered! The plant is not able to absorb moisture in a state of adaptation, it will remain in the soil and lead to decay of the roots.

How does nolina reproduce?

In home floriculture, Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata can be propagated by both seeds and lateral branches.

Propagation by lateral processes

Planting material is sprouts that form on the trunk. They should be carefully broken off and rooted in a moist (but not wet!) peat-sand substrate with the addition of perlite. In the rammed soil, a peg makes a depression in which the sprout is placed and the earth is carefully wrapped around it. From above, the landing is covered with glass or a plastic bag, leaving access to air. The temperature is maintained in the range of + 21 … + 26 C. Ventilation and spraying are carried out daily. As soon as the appearance of new leaves is outlined, the shelter is removed and the sapling begins to be accustomed to the usual conditions for keeping adult plants.

Growing nolina from seed

Before sowing Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata seeds, they need to be soaked in warm water for a couple of days. A good result is given by adding “Epina” to the water. The finished seeds are laid out on the compacted surface of the substrate, after which they are sprinkled with a layer of earth, the thickness of which should be equal to the size of the seeds. The container is placed in a warm place, where the landing is provided with a constant temperature (approximately + 20C) and humidity. You can expect seedlings in a month. After the seedlings are stronger, they are planted in separate containers. At first, you can plant 3-4 seedlings in one dish.

Possible problems in cultivation

  • The trunk does not thicken, but grows upwards. The reason is the lack of lighting and too frequent watering. It is necessary to rearrange the plant in a bright place and practice regular, but moderate in duration dry periods.
  • The leaves of the lower tier dry out and fall off. The situation is not problematic because there is a natural process. Dried leaves are better not to tear off, but to carefully cut with sharp scissors.
  • The ends of the leaves dry out. Despite the drought resistance of the plant, sometimes it suffers from excessive dryness of the air, because in natural nature it is moistened by morning dew. Especially often the problem occurs in winter when kept in a room with central heating. Help – light spraying with soft settled water without chlorine. The first time is daily early in the morning.
  • It shrinks, decreases in volume and dries up the trunk. Usually this process is observed after a long winter, in this case it is natural. In the spring, the tree will begin to accumulate moisture again.
  • The leaves become soft and do not form a beautiful “hair”. The reason is an overabundance of nitrogen in the soil.
  • Leaves that are not located at the bottom of the rosette wither, or all the foliage becomes paler. This can be a sign of dangerous decay of the roots. The reason may be excessive watering, especially in the cold season, as well as drafts, which Nolina – Beaucarnea recurvata is very afraid of. If root rot is suspected, the plant should be removed and the roots inspected. Rotten parts are carefully removed. If the rot has touched the trunk, the defeated part should be cut and sprinkled with ash. If the area of the rotted part is large, the plant is likely to die.


The crop is rarely damaged by insects. In some cases, the tree can be populated by pests such as shield, thrips or spider mites. The problem is solved by the use of insecticides that are acceptable for use indoors. The safest of these is Phytoverm.


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