Pachypodium lealii Welw.
Pachypodium lealii subsp. lealii, Pachypodium giganteum
Pachypodium lealii is a shrub or small tree with a thick bottle-shaped trunk almost branchless until the top. It grows up to 20 feet (6 m) tall. The branches are few and covered by slender, up to 1 foot (30 cm) long thorns. Leaves are oblong with short hairs on both surfaces. Flowers are white and cluster around the tips of the branches. They are present in the spring when the tree is leafless.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
The attractive flowers of Pachypodiums and the intriguing shapes of their swollen stems make them desirable for any garden. However, they are not suitable for cold or damp gardens and are very sensitive to frost. Therefore, if planted in a sunny garden that experiences occasional frost, they should be given a warm, sheltered position.
They make good accent plants in a rock garden, especially with other caudiciform succulent plants. All need full sun, lots of water (except during the dormant phase), and must have good drainage.
Almost all species are surprisingly adaptable to cultivation, changing their growing season when grown in the northern hemisphere.
These plants like ample light and grow best in full sun. Partial shade is tolerated but may discourage flowering. When grown in a glasshouse, ventilation is important. Ample water is required during the growing season, depending on the species and the size of the specimen. Allow the soil to dry out before adding more water.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium.
This species is an endemic species of Namibia and southern Angola, where it occupies the semi-desert areas and dry bushvelds, usually along rocky hillsides.
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