Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei

This is a pretty and attractive palm-like plant with a thick, succulent thorny grey trunk but it is not a palm. Pachypodium are actually in the same family as Plumeria.
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This is a pretty and attractive palm-like plant with a  thick, succulent thorny grey trunk but it is not a palm. Pachypodium are actually in the same family as Plumeria.

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, though).
Flowers: The flowers are 5-8 cm in diameter, white with yellow centre, 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 months.
Fruits and seeds: It produces seed pods that look like cucumbers. Left alone, they eventually open along the seam revealing great numbers of white-winged seeds.



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 draining 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 potting up.