Pot plants: Beaucarnea recurvata, Smoke eater, Beaucarnea gracilis, Beaucarnea longifolia, Beaucarnea stricta

Pot plants: Beaucarnea recurvata, Smoke eater, Beaucarnea gracilis, Beaucarnea longifolia, Beaucarnea stricta

Classification, origin and description

Common name: Nolina or Mangiafumo.
Kind: Beaucarnea.

Family: Liliaceae.

provenance: Central America.

Genre description: includes about 20 species of perennial plants, but on the market there is practically one: B. recurvata.

Beaucarnea recurvata - Mangiafumo (photo website)

Species and varieties

Beaucarnea recurvata: species native to Mexico, where it also reaches 9 m. in height. It lends itself well to growing in apartments, having the only request to be able to enjoy mild temperatures during the winter season. It has a fleshy and swollen stem at the base. The flowers, which appear very rarely in clusters, are white in color. With us it hardly exceeds 1-2 m. in height.

Beaucarnea gracilis: this species has the typical fleshy stem swollen at the base (bottle-shaped) at the top of which a 1.5 cm wide crown of leaves is formed. and 50-70 cm long, with rough edges and gray-green color. When it blooms it produces apical clusters of red flowers.

Beaucarnea longifolia: it has thin leaves that can even measure more than a meter in length.

Beaucarnea stricta: has leaves with rough, overhanging and rigid margins.

Beaucarnea recurvata - Mangiafumo (photo website)

Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: needs mild temperatures during the winter season (not lower than 10 ° C).
Light: requires a very bright position, away from direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: water regularly in spring summer, allowing the soil to dry between one administration and the next. In autumn winter, watering must be suspended, given that the plant survives thanks to the water stored inside the swollen base of the stem. However, if, during the winter months, the temperature remains above 15 ° C, the plant must be watered regularly.
Substrate: porous and humiferous soil.
Special fertilizations and tricks: liquid fertilizer must be administered in the spring (at the vegetative restart) and at the end of the summer. To allow the plant to grow well, it must be guaranteed a period of vegetative rest at cool temperatures, but never below 7 ° C. and in very bright locations. Beucarnea recurvata does not like frequent position changes and does not tolerate drafts.


It can be multiplied by planting the jets that form laterally on the stem in a mixture of peat and sand. It can also be reproduced by planting the seeds found on the market in peat and sand filled basins, kept at a temperature of 18-21 ° C (even better if heated on the bottom). Once the height of 6-8 cm is reached, the seedlings must be transplanted into single pots.

Diseases, pests and adversities

- Excessive watering: they cause radical rot which extends to the trunk.

- Cotton mealybug: it can occur in a particular way in the presence of a hot and dry climate. You have to remove it, treat the plant with an anticoccidic product and raise the humidity level of the environment (the spraying and the washing of the leaves allow to eliminate the cochineals in the larval state). As an alternative to the chemical, the affected parts can be rubbed with a cotton swab wet with water and alcohol.

Video: beaucarnea (October 2021).