I recently had a probelm where I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks or so. When I got home two of my Pacapodiums about 5' tall had fallen or bent over from the middle. I did cut them off at the point they bent over from. Was this the wrong thing to do? Will they sprout pups? What is the best way to handle this? Was the recent heat coupled with lack of water the reason this happened or is it just a coincedence.
It's just a wild guess, but maybe it got a bit dehydrated. When my pachypodiums start to fail, they often lose proper "turgor" (plant term for internal fluid pressure, comparable to our blood pressure). Without proper turgor, the plants shrivel a bit. They can wrinkle and even buckle.
You don't mention the species. If they are Pachypodium lamerei, taking cuttings may work…as you've done. Really any of the southern Africa pachypodiums can be grown from cuttings. If they are the smaller Madagascar pachypodiums, I've never had a plant recover after shriveling or buckling. They seem to be much more touchy and prone to failing completely when they fail.
Keep both the base of the plant and the part that fell over, if you can cut them back to nice hard, healthy tissue. The cutting may root or the base may sprout branches (more likely). Be patient on both fronts. I don't know how serious the damage was. Was it soft or wrinkled? These plants are quite thirsty in the summer and don't enjoy dry pots during their active period. Our Mediterranean(ish) climate is not ideally suited to their lifestyle.
I had my first Pachy failure this summer (P. eburneum went soft at the base)... rather sudden and unexpected death. Not sure why it happened. Maybe because I let it go too dry and then it rotted when I watered too late. Foliage remained completely normal and shiny (healthy looking) till the end. Other Pachys doing fine, bispinosum going at top speed.
I just had the exact same thing happen to me with a Pachypodium geayi that had been in the ground for over 4 years. It bent at the base and I thought it was just leaning but when I sent to prop it up, it broke right at the base which was dry, black and powdery. Almost as if it had some form or fungal infection? Perhaps I just did not water it enough. The top seemed healthy so I cut away the dead tissue and will try and re-plant this weekend.
I love the pachypodiums but they seem to be very tough here in AZ 9b. I've killed five of them and I think I need to move toward pots with better drainage.
How would they get overwatered while NVRAGN was away for a couple weeks? You've seen pachypodiums buckle from overwatering? I've never seen this, especially with big, established P lamerei, but perhaps I'm missing something.
I've never seen them buckle at all. I'm just guessing on the overwatering. It seems like plants get overwatered a lot more than underwatered. That can depend on the soil also. It might be neither though and, like was mentioned, it could be an infection of some kind.
Could be. For my part, I have definitely seen them get underwatered, lose turgor (look "loose" or "wrinkly"), then rot. This rotting is not from overwatering, IMHO. The plant has gone too long without water. The roots die back; the plant may still be green, but it's effectively dead, and its body quickly succumbs to the nearest opportunistic organism: rot or mold fungus. This is consistent with the 2-week absence. That's my take, for what it's worth. With the large or sturdy pachypodiums, it may be worth taking cuttings (P saundersii, P lamerei, P bispinosum are known to grow from cuttings), but I don't hold out a lot of hope for even the cuttings of a plant in such trouble.
Unfortunately in my experience when pachypodiums become wrinkly or slack, their failure is rapid, unavoidable, and total.
Just as a bit of side information when I switched several P. densiforum and a P. eburneum to s/h they completely lost all their roots. I think I was too vigorous in 'cIeaning' all the soil off the root system and I have since learned better) I noticed the problem when several began to get soft and actually loss their round stems. They didn't exactly wrinkle but sort of deflated vertically. I cleaned up all the mushy tissue and soft roots and stuck them back into s/h and they recovered and have (about a year later) regained their round girth. I feel like I dodged a couple of bullets and am very lucky they recovered. All that to say softened pachys isn't always a death knell.
Earlier in my succulent tending career I had a large P. lamerei (4ft tall, 3-4trunks) that I neglected by letting it get way under potted. It's roots rotted 2/2 too much water and one of the main trunks(stems?) bent over in the middle as the first signed of rot. The whole big plant was a complete loss. Sigh. Live and learn.
The first picture is a recovered P. eburneum and the 2nd a P. densiflorum. I think have have these right. Pachys without labels aren't that clear to me.