Slow-growing Plants


The Ponytail Palm/Nolina recurvata is a plant with a bulbous base, a long trunk, and drooping leaves. Although it is called a palm, it is more closely related to Agaves. Because of its shape, it is also referred to as the Bottle palm and Elephant’s Foot Tree. A native of the Mexican desert, this plant can go for long periods without water. However, mine sits in full sun and with the heavy rains here, it must have adjusted very well because it the leaves are always green and has so far remained insect-free.

A close-up of the new leaves, a lighter shade of olive green.

Tender new leaves from another slow-growing plant that I have. It’s the Sago palm/Cycus revoluta. It is known to be one of the oldest plants on earth. Right now the plant isn’t looking its best. The leaves are turning yellow but once winter is over there will be fresh growth like the one in the above picture. All these photos of the Cycad were taken last year between April and June.

The new leaves have unfurled.

This photo was taken last year. Because they bear cones, Cycads are said to be closely related to pine trees. More details about the plant can be read here and here.

And while we’re on to “palms”, I can’t resist posting this image of another common Asian butterfly. It’s the Common Palmfly butterfly/Elymnius hypermnestra. I have only managed to capture this insect with its wings closed. In flight the purple on its wings look beautiful.

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About Kanak Hagjer

Hello from north-east India! I love to blog about all things floral and foliar and sharing the beauty of my region is what I am most passionate about!
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22 Responses to Slow-growing Plants

  1. Randy says:

    Kanak,
    Looks like the Palmfly was grabbed by a bird or something! The cone on the sago is way cool!

  2. A lovely post, Kanak. Your photography is stunning!

  3. islandgal246 says:

    Kanak when I see ponytail palms several feet tall they are usually planted in the ground. I have several in pots that I am looking for places to plant them. the sagos are beautiful, lost my mock sago a few years ago to the Asian cycad scale. Yours are beautiful !

    • kanak7 says:

      Thanks Helen. I’d love to have mine on the ground too but space is a major issue. Anyway, I think I can wait for a few more years…a tall nolina palm will look awkward in a container.

  4. Susie says:

    How nice that the ponytail palm has adapted to it’s more wet environment. I think those are the neatest plants.

    Hope you have a great day Kanak!

    • kanak7 says:

      Susie, at least it doesn’t get water-logged. Reading about its desert background it’s amazing how plants adapt to their adopted environment.

      Hope your day goes well too!

  5. lotusleaf says:

    Cycas with a cone! I had never seen it. The butterfly is very pretty, it must be startling when its wings are open and the colour shows.

  6. joey says:

    I am so in love with your Sago palm/Cycus revoluta, Kanak, and interesting to know it’s one of the oldest plants on earth. But then I love pine trees and ferns. Great cone photo … does it have a scent?

    • kanak7 says:

      Thanks Joey. I did get a faint smell but around that time I was mostly away and I have not documented the cone-bearing days. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it in April/May next year.

  7. One says:

    I like your ponytail palm. Does it ever flower? As for the butterfly, it looks like part of the wings are missing. It’s not easy to get a clear photo when the butterflies are flying. Perhaps you know how. Mine are all taken when they stop moving.

    • kanak7 says:

      One, mine hasn’t flowered. I’ll be waiting and watching:) As for the butterflies…oh, I know! And sometimes when you’re about to capture the one with the open wings, you click and at the same time the butterfly chooses to rest with the wings closed!:(

  8. These palm pictures are stunning!! And the butterfly, I have not seen one like that. But I think either something took a bite out of his wings or they are shaped like that? I wonder if it hinders his flying?

    • kanak7 says:

      Ginny, it doesn’t seem to hinder their flight. I’ve photographed butterflies with more portion of their wings gone and they stop by my blooms and carry on as if half of their wings aren’t even missing!

  9. Stephanie says:

    All three palms are beautiful! Love them all. I wish I have more space in my garden for palms like these. They do take up space hence I am down to one palm now. Oh used to have two only he he…

    Enjoy the weekend!

  10. Titania says:

    Hi Kanak; I do like the slow growing plants too as I do not have to prune them at all! I grow pony tails, one is about 20 years old and the other not far behind so they have managed to row to some nice bit plants, the foot is huge. I did not know it is also called Elephant foot, it looks a little like it. Something has eaten on my Cycad and has nearly destroyed it or so I thought. Then it made lots of new growth which is sort of a meal again for some bugs. Have you had a problem like this? I really enjoyed your previous posts, the butterflies are amazing and you also know them all by name.

    • kanak7 says:

      Trudi, thank you so much! Blogging has taught me their names:) Your pony tails must be gorgeous. These are plants that age gracefully;) With the cycad, I haven’t seen any pests on them. When I planted it several years ago, it got a lot of sunlight. Now my other plants have become bigger and a house has come up in the next plot blocking out the morning sun. The cooler weather isn’t the best time for the cycad. When all the leaves turn brown I’ll be pruning them. I hope by April next year, it’ll start to look better.

  11. payton says:

    love the Ponytail Plams

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