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I have 2 ponytail palms growing in 2 planters which are built into the wall of a swimming pool. They are 15 ft high and the tree bases fill the 30 inch planters. I am afraid that the bases will crack the cement sides of the pool and cause leaks. Will the bases stop growing in circumference if they are contained like this? Ella in Florida

On plant Beaucarnea recurvata



That depends upon what the containers are made of. Regarding the plants stem expansion, they are monocots (Monocotyledons) one of the two major divisions of flowering plants. As such, the "woody" members of this group such as the shrubby Lilies (Cordylines, Aloes, Ponytail Palms) and others such as the true Palms have diffuse fibrous bundles of various types of tissue in their stems which expand around specialised strips of tissue running all through these stems unlike Dicots (Dicotyledons) which produce a steadily increasing layer each year of new wood laid down just below the bark layer. The monocots however expand their whole stems and can exert extreme pressure on the container making them likely to rupture at some point.

7 Feb, 2010

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