Plant of the Week: Pachypodium lamerei
Madagascar Palm
Apocynaceae

Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei is a weird succulent with a thick, spiny gray trunk that will reach 15 feet in nature. As a houseplant, they are much smaller. They are scarcely branched and the base is spindle-shaped. The trunk is covered with 2½ inch spines and the foliage is arranged spirally at the top. It is a native of Southern Madagascar.

Blooming Time: Late spring to early summer. The one in the greenhouse has never bloomed, but we hope this will be the year.

Culture: Pachypodium lamerei needs full sun to light shade with warm temperatures. We use a potting mix consisting of 2 parts sand to 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam with small gravel added for increased drainage. Water sparingly and do not fertilize. Do not water in the winter months when there is no foliage. Repot the plant every 3 years; this is quite tricky given all the spines. The best way is to wrap several layers of newspaper around the trunk where it is to be handled.

Propagation: Pachypodium lamerei are propagated by removal of small offshoots that grow at the base of the plant. Carefully break off the offshoots, they should be allowed to dry for 5 to 8 days before potting up. Seeds germinate very erratically. Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before sowing in moist sand. Seed germinate anywhere from 21 day to 6 months at 72°.

Pachypodium lamerei was featured as Plant of the Week January 12-18, 2001.

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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.