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Pachypodium rutenbergianum (Madagascar Palm)


Scientific Name

Pachypodium rutenbergianum Vatke

Common Names

Madagascar Palm

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Apocynoideae
Tribe: Malouetieae
Genus: Pachypodium


Pachypodium rutenbergianum is a small caudiciform tree with branches that are clothed with oblong-lanceolate leaves. It grows up to 26 feet (8 m) tall. The trunk is up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter at the base. Leaves are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. Spines are up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) long. Flowers are white with yellow centers.

Pachypodium rutenbergianum - Madagascar Palm

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The three parameters: light, temperature, and watering, are closely linked. You should not change one without the other two. Therefore, it is important to note that the balance of these three parameters determines the good or bad health of their plant. Pachypodiums need much light because they originally grow under full sun in tropical countries. Direct sunlight is not necessary, but the sunlight should not be shielded by natural view protection. A Pachypodium with a lack of light will wither, its branches will be weak and appear "lean," and the leaves will be too big and soft. Over time the Pachypodium will be susceptible to disease and fungus, and the plant will eventually die.

The temperature can be very high, as in the habitats in Madagascar and South Africa in the summer. The minimum temperature is much more important for growing Pachypodiums because it triggers the rest. For most types of Pachypodiums, the minimum temperature is about 55° F (13° C), but it depends very much on the moisture of the substrate. The drier the substrate, the lower temperatures are possible. Ideally, you shouldn't fall below a minimum temperature of 59° F (15° C) during the rest period. See more at How to Grow and Care for Pachypodium.


Native to Madagascar.


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