Pachypodium Species, Elephant's Foot, Madagascar Palm

Pachypodium geayi

Family: Apocynaceae (a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pachypodium (pak-uh-PO-dee-um) (Info)
Species: geayi (GAY-ee) (Info)
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage




Foliage Color:



12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gilbert, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Brentwood, California

Clayton, California

Hayward, California

Huntington Beach, California

Rancho Mirage, California

Reseda, California

Rosedale, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Simi Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Upland, California

Denver, Colorado

Big Pine Key, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida

Naples, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Plainfield, Indiana

Kenner, Louisiana

Saint Louis, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Houston, Texas

Kent, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 23, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

its cool But at the time I didn't know how tall it could get also. I didn't know the Plant was poison type. But over all its a cool Cattie


On Oct 30, 2009, grow_n_brew from Saint Louis, MO wrote:

I bought this plant about 16 or 17 years ago when it was maybe 4" to 6" tall. It is now over 8' tall. It winters from Oct-April inside and loses over half of the leaves. This happens even with a grow light. Great growth in the summer, the hotter more humid the better. It's in its 4th or 5th pot now. It has never bloomed nor branched. Very easy to care for otherwise. Q: Can anyone tell me how to get it to bloom or branch? I can't get it into my house this year and will have to winter it somewhere else. Q: Could I trim or cut it? I will see if I can upload a photo. Once I get the pic online, Q: please let me know if its a Geayi or Lamerii. they look very similar from the photos I have seen.


On Nov 4, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the two most commonly sold and grown Pachypodiums in California (but not the most common- that is P lamerii). It is often confused with that more common plant, but distinguished by having thinner leaves accented with a prominent midrib of a different color than the rest of the leaf. The leaves, compared to most other Pachypodiums, are less green, though if watered well and happy, the leaves are green.. just a duller and darker shade of green. Plants that are stressed a bit by intense heat, cold or lack of water tend to have darker leaves, still, almost purply in color. THe body of this plant is too similar for me to tell it apart from the more commonly grown and sold Pachypodium lamerii, and it is very spiny and dangerous to hold/plant. In my experience, at least here ... read more


On Oct 17, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

The most common Pachypodium and maybe the easiest to maintain.Looks as if originaly collected on Mars! Fast grower for a Pachy. I have seen large ones kept outdoors all year in the Bay Area but,they were in pots barely larger then the trunks and under overhangs. As always, the key to keeping a borderline tropical is keeping the soil dryish and fast draining so air can permeate. I have never seen a geayi in flower.
2008: Well,things and times change-lol.Palmbob is right that lameri is the slightly faster grower.I had just had one rambunctious geayi that's all. Keeping more of both seems to confirm lamerii is more gardening friendly. P.geayi still has a place with it's maybe fatter trunk,longer thinner leaves that under certain lighting and cultural conditions turn silver or blackish... read more


On Sep 19, 2004, GUENWYVAR from Media, PA wrote:

This is a fantastic plant !! I have 2. I got the first one around 1977 at a new supermarket. They had a whole rack of them & all were about 3 or 4" tall. I thought they were cute & unusual.Madagascar Palm aka Pachypodium Lamerei the sign said. I got the other one a year or so later. Anyhow the first one is now 6' tall measured from trunk to top. It's in a huge tall clay pot which makes it seem to be at least a 1.5 feet taller.It has 2 big branches & a bud branch off one of them. One branch is about to BLOOM!!! This is the 3rd blooming. I forget the first year it bloomed,but the 2nd time was around 2000 I think. The branches develop where the flowers were.Both of these plants are real conversation pieces & attention getters. I know no one else who has them.The thorns are horrifying; very l... read more


On Aug 19, 2004, lphatala from Woodinville, WA wrote:

This plant was purchased in 1980, when it was about 8 inches high. It grew (as an indoor plant) to a height of 7-8 feet. I never saw it bloom, but it was always producing leaves. In the last 4 months, it stopped producing leaves. Today, I lost a conversations piece. The bottom of the trunk rotted and the plant folded about 4 inches from the base. The remainder of the plant seems solid. I cut the trunk into 6 inch lengths and I'll let them callous. Hopefully, by planting them in a sandy soil, they will propogate and I'll have small palms. This was a terrific house plant!


On May 26, 2003, lynxx wrote:

Fast growing and good indoors if it has good drainage and lots of light. Magnificent form/accent plant.