Do you have any advice on caring for a Madagascar palm?
Madagascar palm (Pachypodium lamerei) is a popular succulent native to southern Madagascar. Although this plant has the name "palm," it is not actually a palm tree. Madagascar palms are grown in warmer regions as outdoor landscape plants and in cooler areas as attractive houseplants. The long, spindly trunk of Madagascar palm is covered with exceptionally thick spines. Leaves form at the top of the trunk. This plant very rarely, if ever, grows branches. Aromatic yellow, pink or red flowers develop in the winter.
Madagascar palms are not difficult to grow as houseplants as long as they receive enough light and are planted in well-draining soil. Be sure to place the plant in a container with drainage holes to avoid root rot. Madagascar palms will grow to 4-6 feet indoors and up to 15 feet outdoors. Madagascar palm plants are an excellent addition any sun-filled room (direct southern exposure).
Water your Madagascar palm sparingly. Only water it when the top third or so of the soil has dried out, then water the plant until the soil is moist. In winter, when the Madagascar palm sheds its leaves and goes dormant, stop watering it altogether until spring.
Fertilize your Madagascar palm once in the spring if you want to encourage it to grow quickly. Use a balanced liquid commercial fertilizer. See the package directions for application amounts and then divide that amount in half.
When not outdoors, Madagascar palm should be kept near a window with as much direct sunlight as possible.
Repot Madagascar palms once every three years or whenever they outgrow their current containers. Replace the soil each time you repot. The best soil to use is a cactus mix.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service