Pachypodium lamerei Drake
Madagascar Palm, Club Foot
Pachypodium ramosum, Pachypodium menabeum, Pachypodium champenoisianum, Pachypodium rutenbergianum var. lamerei, Pachypodium rutenbergianum f. lamerei
Pachypodium lamerei is a semi-deciduous succulent tree with a silver-gray trunk, generally solitary or scarcely branched and covered with sharp spines. The thick fleshy stem grows up to 20 feet (6 m) tall and up to 1 foot (30 cm) in diameter. Leaves are green, narrow, and arranged spirally, mostly just at the top of the plant. The spines are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long. Flowers are white with a yellow center, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long, up to 4.4 inches (11 cm) in diameter, and appear in summer. The plant rarely blooms indoors. Seed pods are up to 8 inches (20 cm) long and look like cucumbers.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Madagascar Palm is not difficult to grow as a houseplant as long as it receives enough light and is planted in well-draining soil. Be sure to place the plant in a container with drainage holes to avoid root rot.
This plant requires bright light and fairly warm temperatures. Place your Madagascar Palm outdoors during daylight hours whenever the weather is above 70 °F (21 °C). It requires full sunlight to thrive. Keep it near a window with access to as much sunlight as possible when it is not outdoors.
Give the plant water when the surface soil is dry. Like many other plants, you can water less in the winter. Water just enough to keep the soil from drying out.
Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer at the beginning of spring and the beginning of summer. If Madagascar Palm is happy and healthy, it will grow about 12 inches (30 cm) a year and blooms profusely.
Remove the damaged parts if your plant shows signs of disease or pest infestation. Leaf drop in winter is perfectly normal. Madagascar Palm may even drop all its leaves. But don't worry. It'll grow more leaves in spring when it gets the sunshine and warmth it loves. When it comes out of dormancy and you see new leaves growing, that's your cue to resume regular watering and fertilizing.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium.
This species is native to Madagascar.
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