The ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is popular as a houseplant. Despite having the name “palm,” a ponytail palm isn’t a true palm. Instead, it is closely related to Yuccas or Agaves. Like these plants, the ponytail palm is native to Mexico. An indoor ponytail palm grows about nine feet tall.
While the ponytail palm is identified by its long, thin, slightly curly leaves, other plants also share some of the same characteristics. If you are considering buying a plant that looks like a ponytail palm, you might look into one of these:
- Dragon Tree – Similar long leaves to the ponytail palm tree.
- Spider Plant – Also has long, thin leaves like a ponytail palm.
- Parlor Palm – The stems and leaves remind one of a ponytail palm.
- Sago Palm – Have a broad foot and narrower stem like the ponytail palm tree.
- Areca Palm – Long, delicate stems and leaves make this palm look like a ponytail palm tree.
- Chinese Fan Palm – Like the ponytail palm, it has a broad foot and a narrower stem.
- Lucky Bamboo – The leaves are long and thin, just like a ponytail palm.
- Canary Islands Dragon Tree – The straight stems and long leaves look like a ponytail palm.
If you want some more indoor plants that look like a ponytail palm tree or will compliment it, we’d recommend these eight. Continue reading if you want a more detailed description of how they resemble the ponytail palm tree and how they differ from it.
1. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
The dragon tree is the first plant to closely resemble a ponytail palm tree. Native to Madagascar, this tree can grow up to twenty feet tall when kept outside. Indoors, however, it grows to about six feet tall, which is the same size as a ponytail palm.
The leaves of a ponytail palm and dragon tree also look remarkably similar. Both plants have a broader foot that turns into a thinner stem. From the stem, several thin, long leaves hang down the palm. The only difference is that while a ponytail palm’s leaves are curly, the dragon tree’s leaves are perfectly straight.
Both trees also aren’t genuine palms, despite looking like palms. A dragon tree is an excellent companion plant or alternative to the ponytail palm.
2. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Up next, we have a houseplant that is almost as popular as the ponytail palm – the spider plant. Spider plants are much smaller than ponytail palms, reaching only about fifteen inches in height. However, the long, thin leaves that hang from a spider plant remind one of the ponytail palms.
Apart from the leaves, there aren’t too many similarities between the spider plant and a ponytail palm. For example, spider plants have light green leaves with darker green stripes, while ponytail palms have a uniform dark green color. Spider plants also don’t create long, woody stems like ponytail palms. Instead, the leaves grow straight from the plant’s foot.
3. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Yet another palm that looks like a ponytail palm is the parlor palm. The parlor palm is also native to Mexico and Northern Guatemala. The parlor palm grows about four feet tall indoors, making it the same height as a ponytail palm.
While the parlor palm looks more like a bamboo than a palm tree, it has some characteristics that make it look similar to a ponytail palm. Like a ponytail palm, the parlor palm has long, thin leaves. The leaves aren’t as thin as a ponytail palm’s leaves. However, considering how they also hang down from the stems and the stems are equally as thin, a parlor palm creates a similar aesthetic as the ponytail palm.
4. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
The sago palm, like the ponytail palm, isn’t a true palm. Yet it looks like a palm which is why it carries the name. The sago palm is native to Indonesia and New Guinea. It grows up to two feet tall indoors, making it a bit smaller than the average ponytail palm.
Like the ponytail palm, a sago palm has a brood foot that turns into a narrow stem. From the top of the stem, several leaves form. Unlike the ponytail palm, a sago palm has classic palm-like leaves that point up instead of falling down. A sago palm’s leaves are a lot stiffer than a ponytail palm’s leaves.
Both plants have about the same shade of green in their leaves, which is why they make good companion plants.
5. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
The Areca palm is also known as a bamboo palm because of how much it looks like bamboo. The Areca palm grows about four feet tall indoors, giving it the same height as a ponytail palm. The Areca palm is also native to Mexico and Central America, which is why it is closely related to the ponytail palm.
Like the ponytail palm, an Areca palm has long, thin leaves. The thin stems of an Areca palm ensure that the entire plant looks like a ponytail palm. The leaf color of an Areca palm is also similar to a ponytail palm.
One difference between these two plants is that an Areca palm doesn’t have a broad foot like a ponytail palm. Instead, the thin stems shoot directly up from the ground like bamboo.
6. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)
The Chinese fan palm is yet another palm that looks like a ponytail palm. Chinese fan palms can grow up to eight feet indoors. There is also a dwarf variety that grows much smaller. The Chinese fan palm is native to Japan, Taiwan, China, and the Ryukyu islands.
Like a ponytail bamboo, the Chinese fan palm has a broad foot that narrows into the stem. But a Chinese fan palm has leaves like a typical palm, which are stiff and straight. The leaves spread into a fan shape, hence the name.
7. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
A lucky bamboo also has some resemblance to a ponytail palm. Lucky bamboos are native to Southeast Asia. Indoors, lucky bamboo can grow three to five feet tall, about the same height as a ponytail palm.
Lucky bamboos share other similarities with ponytail palms too. Their leaves are the same shade of green. Their long, limp leaves also resemble those of ponytail palms, even if they aren’t as narrow as the latter. The leaves also hang down from the plant, which makes them look like a ponytail palm.
However, lucky bamboo doesn’t have broad feet like ponytail palms. And their leaves are much straighter. Their leaves are also broader than the leaves of ponytail palms.
8. Canary Islands Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco)
Finally, we have another tree that looks almost exactly like the ponytail palm. A Canary Islands dragon tree is another variety of the Madagascar dragon tree, although it isn’t the same plant. The Canary Islands dragon tree grows one to three feet tall indoors and has long, thin leaves, just like a ponytail palm.
A Canary Islands dragon tree is about the same shade of green as a ponytail palm. However, this plant has a thin red line at the edge of each leaf. It also leaks red tree sap if the leaves are punctured or sliced. This is a characteristic the ponytail palm does not share.
While the Canary Islands dragon trees have long, thin leaves that hang down from the top of the plant, their leaves aren’t curly like those of the ponytail palm. Instead, they are straight as a ruler. The Canary Islands dragon tree also doesn’t have a thicker foot like the ponytail palm.
Regardless, the Canary Islands dragon tree and all the other plants we’ve discussed make excellent companion plants or alternatives to ponytail palms.