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Category: Alpines and Rock Gardens Perennials Trees Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Height: 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F) USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F) USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F) USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Danger: All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Bloom Color: White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Winter/Early Spring Mid Spring Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall
Other details: Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From herbaceous stem cuttings Allow cut surface to callous over before planting From seed; sow indoors before last frost
Seed Collecting: Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible
On Dec 30, 2012, antooncor from rustenburg South Africa wrote:
I have 2 Pachypodium l's in pots. One in semi-shade now 1,2 m and the second in full sunshine 1,6m. Had them for 7 years..... flowering the last 3, in November-January....
HOW ARE THE FLOWERS POLLINATED?......
I cannot think which insect ... maybe ants .... can pollinate through such a small calyx opening?
Must I get pollen from another source to be effective?
Are self-sterlilty genes involved?
On Sep 14, 2012, gbirdie from Jacksonville, FL wrote:
I always coveted my mother's small plant, though she kept it in a dark condo and rarely watered it. It never grew, but stayed at about 12" for 15 or more years. When I inherited it in 2000, I put it on my lightly shaded patio and it immediately started growing. I only move it during freezes and water about once a month. It's about 6' tall now and slowed it's growth. I'm afraid if it gets too tall I won't be able to protect it. When I watered it twice a month the leaf tips turned black. I'm curious about flowering. Does it need full sun, or regular fertilizing or both to flower?
On Feb 27, 2012, mark467 from North Andrews Gardens, FL wrote:
Bought two 15 years ago at 10". Planted them in a dry area near the edge of the yard. Full sun all day. One is now 17 ft tall and one is 15 ft tall. they have multiple tops(dont know how to desribe that). They blooom a few times a year and look great. They are in Oakland Park FL( next to Ft. Lauderdale)
On Jan 1, 2012, jlodell from Round Valley, CA wrote:
HELP!!We recieved our Madagascar Palm from a neighbor whose celings were too low. We love our palm and it has done extremely well and it had grown to be 12 ft tall. However, recently when trying to move our palm, it fell and because of the spikes we couldn't catch it. The top broke off about 3 feet from the leaves. We are really sad about this happening and would like to do anything to revive our palm. the trunk is dripping out of the top, broken off part. We have put the top broken off part with the leaves in a seperate pot hoping that it might be able to root. Does anyone have any advice as to how we may be able to help our palm come back?
On Dec 8, 2011, aunttek from Cape Coral, FL wrote:
Add Cape Coral, FL to the list of where this beautiful plant thrives. When I bought mine in Lowes about 12 or 13 years ago, it was about 5 inches tall. I keep it in my lanai where it has morning and early afternoon sun and it thrives. It is now about 5'5" tall in the pot, very thick in the trunk and thins out on top where it sprouts many leaves. No flowers, but I don't do a thing to it except maybe water it in the very hot summer every now and again. I was hoping it wouldn't get much bigger, because if I ever move, my baby is coming with me!
I have had this plant about 10 years, was about 1-2 feet tall when purchased from a nursery, it's about 6.5 feet now, and has always been planted outside in a planter which I have re-planted three times to bigger planters, I have never seen any flowers produced on it, It is a very healthy plant, I use a cactus soil, maybe every other month I fertilize with some liquid miracle grow, it produces a lot of leaves, but again, never a flower. I water it more than what is recommended when I see more leaves drop off, I water more, and it has always been healthy
On May 7, 2011, maficmagma from Galveston, TX wrote:
Waiting to see if this plant truly survives winter temperatures of those in Zone 9a.
I have one BARELY clinging to life (I think). An icy northern blast hit Galveston, Texas this winter early February. The plant was in a somewhat protected area (maybe not enough)
Time will tell if this plant has a chance of survival....
I bought this plant when it was 6" tall for my mom, who ignored so I took it home. This is the second one I have had the first one like the current one got to big, They both seem to thrive in the Dallas Texas summer heat and sunlight and they grow like weeds in it. My little 6 incher is now 11' or 12' tall.
It grew 3 to 4 feet (not inches) evey summer. Last summer it started branching and has 5 branches coming off the main stem. The first one did also after it shot out a number of flowering stems. Where one of these flowering stems grew the plant split into two branches. The current one has not bloomed but it has branched out.
Both plants have to come in during the winter and go back out in the spring. The first time the first one bloomed I put it back outside in mid March any later than that and it doesn't bloom. They do shed their leaves in the winter but are fast to sprout out new ones in the spring. They are amazing fast growing plants. I have a feeling that next winter, the current one will have to stay outside and let nature take it's course because my celing is to low if it grows any higher. The plant thrives on abuse, I just water it and feed it once every three months and that is all I do for maintenance.
On Nov 5, 2010, amscram from Baton Rouge, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:
I've had one for years, spends March through October outside in full sun in hot, humid Louisiana (zone 8b) and loves it! It grows at least a foot a year, and is in a relatively small pot to boot. It's now 7 feet tall and I'm going to have to see if I can cut it back. It does tend to lose all its leaves in the winter, but it pops right back in spring.
On Apr 22, 2010, MotorcycleMar from Maryland Heights, MO wrote:
I purchased my Pachypodium 2/28/1980 in a gift shop, so I expect it was pretty small then. It's now 45 inches tall and I've just transplanted it to a 14 inch pot. It's easy to grow and certainly fascinating looking. Here in St. Louis, Missouri it comes inside to a south window in the winter and in the summer it sits in full sun on the south side of the house.
my leaves drop ferquently, that i am concerne that i may water too much or not enough. the nursery said it was because of the soil being dry-i doubt it, does anyone have any suggestions. it is about4' tall and blooms in may only.
On Jan 24, 2010, anjoupear from Teaneck, NJ wrote:
I've had the plant for 10+ years. It was 5 inches tall and now it is about 3 feet tall.
Can you help with a problem?
The top couple of feet looks green/gray and healthy. The bottom foot has dried out thorns and also has a brown/tan spot a few inches across. The very tip of top has a hole about 1/2 inch across and about an inch deep.
The plant is not rotting or soft.
What is causing the problems and what can be done to solve them?
On Sep 15, 2009, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I have come up with an alternative common name - Devil's Back Scratcher - it's mainly for my own use since I felt that Madagascar Palm is a poor common name for this plant - I have one and it never need fertilizer and it grows well even thought it have already taken over most of the pot with its roots.
On Mar 29, 2009, rbegovatz from Millbury, OH wrote:
In 2002, I bought this madagascar palm at a K-Mart Store in Oregon, Ohio. It was almost dead and now seven years later it is 6' tall. We keep it inside the house in the winter time near the east wall in front of a huge window. We leave it outside from May to October and during this time it has a large growth spurt. I have two questions: will it ever flower? and how do you make it branch out? I know for sure at the end of this summer (2009) when we bring it back into the house it will touch the ceiling.
I bought this plant at Stein's almost dead for .50 cents! That was 7 yrs. ago. Nursed it back. It is now healthy and doing great. It is about 21 ins. Very easy to care for. I never knew how big they can get till I found this page today, WOW. I'm in Wisconsin so I keep it indoors in the winter. Does anyone know how big it will have to get till it starts to flower? 1 of my favorite plants, even more so know that I know more about it.
On Mar 18, 2009, Porphyrostachys from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
I wouldn't be too terrified to plant this species of Pachypodium in sunny locations in hot desert climates like Phoenix, Az. I'd be more concerned about frost than sun. The plant bought from Lowe's was likely used to a shadier location and hence lost leaves to scorch, but had the individual been patient and left the plant where it was, the plant would have made new leaves perfectly adapted to the sunny location. There's a very large Pacypodium lamerei in Mesa (probably 13 feet by now) near someone's home. The upper portion of the plant that exceeds the height of the roof has no choice but to be in full sun all day long and shows no problem what-so-ever. It flowers all summer even. This plant probably survived the 2007 freeze because it was up against a warm wall. Looking closely and noticing the branches, it's obvious this plant has suffered tip damage by frost before 2007 as well. I would certainly suggest keeping Pachypodium near warm walls if grown in the Phoenix area.
On Feb 16, 2009, GuamPlanter from Barrigada Guam (USA) wrote:
I had this plant for about 6 months and so far it has been growning in the pot with no problems. I normally keep the plant with larger plants that filters the sun to avoid direct sun light. The sun temperture in Guam gets really hot, so I don't want to take any chances in burning it. I normally lightly water the plant with the rest of the plants and it seems to like the watering. As you can see, this plant is sort of rare and pricey over here. So far, I'm testing the direct sun with my Crown of Thorns and see how they fair out. I don't have any bad comments about this plant, but it does make a great addition to my collection of exotic plants.
Fell in love with this plant because it grows really and does not require a lot of caring. The climate in Lithuania is too cold for pachypodium to be grown outdoors, so it spends summers in balcony and winters on the windowsill of the living room
On Sep 29, 2008, d5allen from Mishawaka, IN wrote:
I have had a Madagascar palm since 1985. Usually I have it outside during the summer (zone 5) and have to bring it in around end of Sep or Oct when the temperatures at night get close to freezing. I LOVE THIS PLANT. I did try to catch it once when it fell from the windowsill WHICH I WON'T DO AGAIN! I will just let it fall. It is hard to find locally so thanks to ebay and now Dave's Garden I have added specimens to my collection. It is very easy to grow. It loves the summer sunshine and Miracle Grow fertilizer (which I give every 3-4 weeks). My oldest specimens are leaning so I need to rotate them more often.
On Jul 6, 2008, ReefdiverTed from Chandler, AZ wrote:
I wanted to let others know living in hot desert climates that this plant does not do well in direct sun in hot climates. I live in the Phoenix area (zone 8) and I brought one of these beautiful plants home from Lowes. The plant was about 2' tall with a 2nd trunk about 8" coming up from the bottom. I decided on a nice sunny place in the front yard as the tag on the plant said "full sun". The plant had only been sitting in the full sun for about 6 hours for 2 days in a row and all the leaves got scorched. It was about 108F out those days, a typical Arizona summer day. I took it back to the store and got another and now have it in a pot on the back porch where its shaded most of the day and gets an hour of early morning sun and an hour of late evening sun and it seems to be happy there. I decided to hold off on planting it in the ground and take it with me when I move to Miami next year.
On Apr 19, 2008, KiMFDiM from Alden, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is one of my favorites. It spends the summers outdoors and the winters in a south window. It is slow to grow (probably because I'm in the northeast), but it keeps its foliage if I let it dry between waterings. I planted it in a ceramic pot with sandy, loamy soil. It has never flowered, although I haven't tried getting it to. I have had this for about three years now, and like I said, it is very slow growing. It has only grown a couple inches since I bought it. It has grown fatter, however.
On Sep 13, 2007, soonersurfer from Tahlequah, OK wrote:
When I got this plant about a year and a half ago it was only about 4 in.`s and now it is 16 in.`s high. It stays in a pot because I have to bring it inside for the winter but it does very well in the hot and humide Oklahoma summer.Got it from a walmart supercenter so it didnt come with any info, not even a species name.I have spent the past year just trying to figure out what kind of plant it is.When I finally found out what kind of plant it is, I was amazed at how beautiful and tall they can get. Cant wait to see mine full grown!
On Aug 2, 2007, montelloslx from Sarasota, FL wrote:
My madagascar, Maddy, and me currently live in Sarasota, Florida. My plant has quite some history. I bought this plant for my father on Father's Day when I was like 8 years old, I am now 43! 4 years ago, my father still had this plant, of course now it was over 8 feet tall and growing quite well inside his atrium in Milwaukee Wisconsin, believe it or not. My father comes down to visit me each winter and this time he asked if he could bring the madagascar with him in his van. If I'd want to try and plant it in my yard here in Florida. Of course, I responded with an energetic yes! This was 2003.
The story continues, I sold my home in Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch in 2005 and really did not want to leave the "family tree" as dad referred to it, behind. Plus, I believed it was too spiney for my open yard in such a deed restricted neighborhood such as I was living. So, I dug it up and brought it with me to my current house in Southgate in Sarasota.
The thing just took off where I planted it. She is so happy there. She has grown to over 8 feet tall, however, I am now moving into a condo, and cannot dig it up again. So, I was glad to read here that it can be propogated quite successfully. I will cut off two smaller sprouts, allow them to callous over and hope for the best. I will keep the "family tree" in the family. I will have a large lanai at the condo and trust it will do well in a pot until someday I have a real yard again.
The gal that added the sand to her pot, and got good results, that was the key. Where "Maddy" is right now, is mostly sand, and she loves it there. I never water it either, just let mother nature do her work when it rains. Good to know though about the root rot if it gets to wet, and to keep it dry and well drained. I'm going to take a picture of it before I move and add it to the website for all to enjoy.
On Jul 19, 2007, mispatti from Rogersville, MO wrote:
I have had several Palms over the past 25 years. They are my favorite plant. Due to my many moves and people that seem to like to steal them, I had not had one in sometime, until 2 years ago. It came in a cactus garden that my husband and son had made for me on Mothers Day. It was a tiny tot about 8 ins. tall. Needless to say it is now about 2ft plus and it is very fat. It has done very well until this Spring . I placed it in my rock garden in its pot as I always do . This year it has not developed any new leaves at all. It acts as though it is on pause. I have transplanted it in a pot size bigger and fresh soil thinking this might help. After a month there has been no change. I read here to use 10-60-10 fertilizer, I will try that. But if anyone has any ideas as to why it seems to be paused in its growth, I would appreciate the input.
On Feb 6, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:
In Nov 2005 i bought a small 6" WalMart plant. Instead of my usual -out in summer and in for winter for Pachypodiums,i put it next to the sunniest window in the home. In 15 months it has grown a chunky 10" and has never been out of leaf. Or, despite lower than desert humidity sometimes,ever had any pest problems.It's even put up with the presence of a marine aquarium(that's been death for other plants) very close by.
Now i wish i had bought ten!
2008: Big changes..that Walmart plant is now 3' tall..big Plumeria like leaves.
I have also grown P.lameri outdoors in ground now for over about a year. Has done fine,although a very mild winter of a lowest temp of 36F isnt much of a test. It did fine on the other hand, at handling also a chill wet winter. Between this and reading they dont like full hot Arizona sun makes this a shockingly good plant for warm areas of the bay area.
edit 2012- That 3' plant is now over 4' much more girth and still larger leafs. It stays outdoors all year now. The in ground plant from 2007? Still going fine...taking frosts that have cut back some other z10a subtropicals.
On Feb 6, 2007, BackyardGuy from Fort Worth, TX wrote:
I've had these in the past and loved them, but found them to grow very slowly. I bought a new one a year ago and in the past 12 months it has gone from 16" tall (measuring from soil to crown) to an incredible 29". I did something different with this one and I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience.
The disposible plastic pot ripped open on the way home. The only thing I had to put it in was a pot 2 sizes too big. And, all I had to fill in around the existing soil and roots was common playground sand. (I initially expected this to be a temp solution to hold the soil in place around the roots.) It's done incredibly well, both inside the house and outside in full sun. Foliage extremely healthy and loses leaves much more slowly than I've experienced before. Is this just a super plant, or has the added sand around it made all the difference?
On Dec 8, 2006, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I obtained three small plants less than six inches tall about four years ago. After being potted I transfered them to the ground in full sun. They are now around five feet tall and growing fast. Never seen them bloom. They do just great with no attention here in Port Charlotte, Fl.
Update 1/2009, These plants continue to grow fast, the largest one I have is now about 12 feet and recently produced white flowers. Large plants bring a hefty price tag around here, I don't see why anyone would pay that kind of money for a plant that grows this fast.
I live in Miami, Florida and I've had my plant for over 20 years since it was about a foot tall growing in a pot. Now it is well over 12 feet tall and it's on the ground. Last year after hurricane Wilma, one of the two large branches completely fell over where the 18 inch trunk splits into two very large branches. Upon further inspection, the trunk was rotten where it broke. Now the second trunk looks like it is going to do the same, even though I had thoroughly cleaned off the rotted part and sprayed with fungicides. I have not been able to stop the rotting and can't figure out what caused it, as it is watered sparingly. I also have had no luck in planting the broken trunk even though I cut off the rotted part and allowed it to callous before planting. Again, the planted branch rots after a few days and falls on its side. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to save this plant or replant the branches, please let me know.
On Apr 18, 2006, Rachele from revelstoke Canada wrote:
I have just purchased this plant at walmart three months ago. It is very unigue looking plant. It is about 12 inches tall & has leaves on the top. I put in a bigger pot because it was trying to fall out of the other one. How do I know when to water this plant? Does it shrivel or drop leaves? Ive only watered it twice in three months. Thank-you for the info! Rachele
On Sep 8, 2005, SoCalBob from La Mirada, CA wrote:
I bought my Madagascar Palm "Tiny" about 15 years ago when it was about 6 inches tall. It has always been in a container, first in MA, then TX, and finally southern CA where it has done well in partial shade. It's now about 7' tall with two branches and thick crowns. Recently, however, the new leaves in the center have been turning black from the tips downward. Insect spray seems to stop it for a while and then it comes back. Any ideas on what this may be?
On Aug 1, 2005, bradnplantluva from Bradenton, FL wrote:
My Madagascar is about 8 or 9 yrs old ,about 4ft tall in a container,nerver has bloomed.It has grown above my patio fence and this winter I think the top got too cold. It is Aug. now and iot just now starting leaf out off of the main trunk. Stems are forming on the sides with leaves. I hope to save this fine specinen. Can anyone tell me what fertilizer to use? Until now the plant has been problem free. email@example.com RE: Madagascar Palm
On Jul 23, 2005, StarGazey26 from (Zone 10a) wrote:
This plant is awsome, and very easy to grow. Fertalize with a high middle number fertalizer, like 10-60-10, to get it to bloom! Watch out, the spines are very very sharp! Makes a nice container plant, dont over water, subject to root rot! Other wise very attractive, nice conversation piece!
On Jul 1, 2004, Catdancer from Oregon City, OR wrote:
I purchased this plant when it was no larger than my finger, about 10 years ago. It is now 50cm tall. I am amazed it has lasted, and even done quit well. I live in zone 6 (Portland Oregon), and have kept it indoors as long as I have had it. Although, after reading a little about it on this website I am going to start putting it outdoors some in the summer. As any one familiar with this area knows, it is quite warm here at times during the summer months. This plant is a survivor and one of my favorite plants, I am hoping to keep it alive and healthy for a long time. I have had some problems with the leaves getting dry crispy tips and then falling off. I'm hoping that putting it out doors will help as it does a lot of my other tropical type house plants.
I have had this plant for four years now. Although it is currently outdoors, when i had it as an indoor it definitely benefited from a day or two in the sun every two to three weeks. It will keep it's leaves through the winter if it's inside out of the cold, but it seems to need a minimum
of four hours light a day. It will grow at about 10cm a year if in full sun and watered every week or so in hot weather.
On Sep 1, 2003, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
Pachypodiums are among my favorite tribes. I have several of this particular one [maybe a dozen; the picture I posted is a group of them at a neighbor's house, however] of various sizes from 6 inches to 3 feet. And two of them are now developing branches, which is exciting to me. Also, this weekend I purchased at the Univeristy of South Florida Botanical Garden's Cactus & Succulent Show and Sale a variety P. lameri v. ramosum, which at 6 inches already has four branches, and P. lealii v. saundersii, which at 6 inches is loaded with flower buds. I will post pictures of both when they get used to their new home.
On Jun 30, 2003, ginabrowse from nottingham United Kingdom wrote:
I just bought one of these; it is beautiful and spiky! I am rather worried though as I have only had it about a month and the bottom leaves are turning yellow and dropping off and the new, green leaves are blackening at the tips. It is in a sunny room and I keep it quite dry.
On Apr 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:
I have this plant. It´s 8 years old now, and has grown only 30 cm. It grows slowly in not so well drained, and rather drought soils, with sun only in afternoons, I guess. Anyway, it seems to tolerate well those conditions, since the plant is very healthy. So, this plant is one of my most precious jewels. I heard that this species comes from Madagascar, and it´s becoming extinct in its natural habitat, so I take care of mine as best as I can.
On Jun 17, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:
This plant is not a palm, though it is sold as one through Home garden centers and nurseries. Pachypodium are actually in the same family as Plumeria, and, except for the spines, are very much like Plumeria. They are succulent stemmed, semitropical plants with simple green lancelot leaves and fine, delicate roots (older plants can have huge rootballs, though).
This species is the most commonly sold Pachypodium. It is originally from Madagascar (hence the name) and it is fairly easy to grow, both indoors, as well as outdoors in Southern California. Grown for its instensely spiny, attractive trunk, if warm enough in the summers, and large enough, it will also produce some attractive and nice smelling flowers. The trunk is generally solitary and stout (sort-of palm-like... hence the other part of the name).
In the winters it is deciduous, except in very tropical areas. 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 (they do well in Hawaii). Indoors it is best to err on the dry side, or it is prone to rot. 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.
Be careful when handling this plant as the spines are very sharp and sturdy.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, Grenoble, Foley, Alabama Montgomery, Alabama Chandler, Arizona (2 reports) Goodyear, Arizona Mesa, Arizona Oro Valley, Arizona Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports) Scottsdale, Arizona Bostonia, California Del Aire, California Downey, California Duarte, California Fresno, California Hayward, California La Mirada, California La Presa, California La Puente, California Lake Elsinore, California Los Angeles, California Murrieta Hot Springs, California Norwalk, California Oceanside, California Palm Springs, California Ramona, California Reseda, California Round Valley, California San Antonio Heights, California San Clemente, California San Diego, California (4 reports) San Francisco, California Santee, California Simi Valley, California Thousand Oaks, California Venice, California Vista, California Yorba Linda, California Edgewater, Colorado Big Pine Key, Florida Bonnie Lock-woodsetter North, Florida Bradenton, Florida Cocoa Beach, Florida Cudjoe Key, Florida Lake Worth, Florida Mary Esther, Florida Miami, Florida North Andrews Gardens, Florida Orangetree, Florida Ormond Beach, Florida Port Charlotte, Florida Sarasota, Florida South Venice, Florida Spring Hill, Florida Wekiva Springs, Florida Whitfield, Florida Yigo, Guam Kailua Kona, Hawaii Lihue, Hawaii Maalaea, Hawaii Mishawaka, Indiana Kenner, Louisiana Metairie, Louisiana Baltimore, Maryland Mount Clemens, Michigan Minneapolis, Minnesota Columbia, Missouri Maryland Heights, Missouri Rogersville, Missouri Teaneck, New Jersey Alden, New York Millbury, Ohio Briggs, Oklahoma Warren Center, Pennsylvania Vieques, Puerto Rico Little River, South Carolina Summerville, South Carolina Dallas, Texas Dickinson, Texas Fort Worth, Texas Galveston, Texas Grape Creek, Texas La Porte, Texas Laguna Heights, Texas Pearland, Texas Bellingham, Washington Lannon, Wisconsin Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin