Description: Semidecidous or deciduous semitropical succulent stemmed
tree, 2,5 m tall , or more with optimal conditions. (As a houseplant,
they are much smaller) In cultivation it is often marketed as the
"Madagascar Palm", despite in not being a palm at all.
The Pachypodium tends to lose its leave and go dormant in winter in
temperate climate areas.
Stem: It has an instensely spiny grey and very attractive and stout
trunk, which is generally solitary or scarcely branched and the base is
spindle-shaped. The stems can grow up to 30 centimetres in diameter and
five meters height.
Thorn: 2 to 6 cm long.
Leaves: Simple green lanceloted arranged spirally mostly just at the top
of the plant
Roots: Fine, delicate (older plants can have huge rootballs,
Flowers: The flowers are 5-8 cm in diameter, white with yellow
attractive and nice smelling.
Blooming season: Only mature plants bloom (1.8 m tall or more). It
flowers in spring to early summer, on and off through all the warm
Fruits and seeds: It produces seed pods that look like cucumbers. Left
alone, they eventually open along the seam revealing great numbers of
Cultivarion: Is fairly easy to grow both indoors, as well as
outdoors in warm climates and can grow at about 10cm a year. In the
winters it is deciduous, except in very tropical areas. Needs a
cactus potting mix and regular water when the plant has leaves,
contrary to popular belief, it likes a lot of water in the warm summers,
as long as it's planted in a very well draining soil. Indoors it is best
to err on the dry side, or it is prone to rot. It like
full sun to
light shade with warm temperatures.
It is a fairly slow growing plant, but in 10 years it can easily outgrow
its indoor location, requiring a 'pruning'. Though branching is usually
a response to naturaly injury, or something that happens in older
specimens, one can stimulate branching by cutting off its top. It has
amazing regenerative properties.
Repot the plant every 3 years; this is quite tricky given all the
spines. The best way is to wrap several layers of newspaper around the
trunk where it is to be handled.
Propagation: Seeds or division.
Fresh seeds results in a remarkable yield of new plants, perhaps 90%,
Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before sowing in moist sand. Seed
start sprouting in just 3-4 days ( but continue to germinate erratically
for about 6 month) Pachypodium lamerei are also propagated by removal of
small offshoots that grow at the base of the old plant. Carefully break
off the offshoots, they should be allowed to dry for 5 to 8 days before