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  • Lake Chapala

Our Monthly "Did You Know"

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

This "Did you Know" was compiled by Erica Pierce.

I have always been intrigued by the Madagascar Palm.  I just purchased two of these magnificent palms to add to my others in the garden. I love these "Dr. Seuss Trees" (my nickname for them).  They are incredibly interesting and unusual, so here are some facts.

Pachypodium lamerei is a species of flowering plant in the family Apocynaceae. It is a stem succulent, photosynthesizing mainly through its trunk, and comes from the island of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. It has large thorns and leaves mostly just at the top of the plant, and large, fragrant flowers. Wikipedia

A Madagascar Palm can take up to ten years to mature.

They like the sun and can withstand drought conditions.  

Water just enough to keep the soil from drying out. They will lose their leaves if they get too dry.

The sap is poisonous but the dangerously sharp spines will keep the most curious animals away.

If the plant is happy it can grow as much as 12 inches in a year and bloom profusely. They can grow to reach 20 feet outdoors.

They will produce white flowers between the leaves when they are in their optimal environment. 

Fertilize in spring and summer with houseplant fertilizer. It will help with blooming.

The long waxy leaves will fall off in the winter but return in the spring. When leaves fall off, stop watering.

I accidentally rotted a large potted Madagascar Palm because of poor drainage in the potting soil.  If you pot them, make sure they don't get too much water. A potted palm can grow to four to six feet indoors.

We are fortunate that these beautiful palms grow very well in our area of Mexico. We have neighbors that have a beautiful specimen outside their gate that seems to do well with little or no care. So, don't be afraid to give them a try.

I just bought two of them at Vivero Cactus just off the Carretera on the hillside by the Pemex heading west to San Juan Cosala. They have a nice selection.

There is lots of information online about these intriguing palms.This is just a brief overview and, hopefully, may create some interest in you that have never had one. Happy gardening.

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