The Ultimate Care Guide to Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei is also known as Madagascar Palm. Although it is called a “palm” and looks like a pineapple, it is actually succulent.

While Pachypodium lamerei is not exactly the most popular or attractive succulent you can find in a nursery, it is a perfect choice for anyone looking to grow an eye-catching indoor succulent.

This article will guide caring for and propagating your Madagascar Palm without any hassle.

pachypodium lamerei
Photo by @kaktucactu


Pachypodium lamerei belongs to the Pachypodium family, and it is endemic to Madagascar. This succulent has thick swollen stems that help to conserve water and provide stability. The stems grow upwards, just like the leaves.

All parts of the Madagascar Palm succulent have toxic latex sap. But, thanks to the rigid hooked spines that surround the plant, pets will not like to go near it.

If you grow Pachypodium lamerei in its native habitat, the stems can grow as high as 4 feet and as wide as 24 inches. If you want this succulent to produce flowers, it is recommended that you do not grow it indoors. The star-shaped flowers, which last for just a few weeks, are white and have an attractive fragrance.

Caring for Pachypodium Lamerei Succulents

Light and Location

Your Pachypodium lamerei can grow up to 4 feet if planted in the right environment. Allow the plant to take in the morning and evening sun so it does not stretch out and become leggy.

But ensure you do not expose your Madagascar Palms to direct sunlight in a rather drastic manner. At first, you can expose the plant to two or three hours of sunlight daily. As the plant gets accustomed to full sun, you can increase the light intake to four or five hours.

Pachypodium lamerei succulents will produce less chlorophyll as they take in more sunlight, and that will reduce the possibility of getting sun-scorched. To prevent sunburn, ensure the succulent is well hydrated and gets at least four hours of sunlight every day.


The best way to water Pachypodium lamerei is to wait until the soil is dry before resuming watering. If you water when the soil is wet, you risk destroying the roots.

In the winter and autumn, reduce your watering frequency because the succulent will be dormant during that period.

If your Madagascar Palms have shriveled stems and yellow leaves, it means you have to increase your watering rate. If you live in a hot and dry area, you should consider watering more often because the soil will dry out faster.

While trying to avoid under-watering, do not take the risk of overwatering. When the stems of your Madagascar Palms look weak, and growth is stunted for a long time, know that you are overwatering the plants. You should consider following a rigid watering schedule so you do not under-water or overwater the Pachypodium lamerei plant.


Although it is not necessary, you can apply fertilizers once in two months when the Pachypodium lamerei is actively growing. In the winter, when the succulent is dormant, apply the fertilizer only once in three months.

While just about any houseplant fertilizer works well for this succulent, you should opt for a “Cactus“ labeled fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is packed with all the vital nutrients Pachypodium lamerei needs to grow.


While Pachypodium lamerei grows big, it does not grow that fast, so you may not need to transplant it until after three years of planting. Ensure the new pot you are moving the succulent to is bigger and with better drainage.

After repotting, you will need to water the plant daily to prevent problems like transplant shock. If you live in a somewhat dark area, you should consider adding more perlite and grit to the new potting mix to enable the soil to dry faster.

Pruning and Maintenance

If you notice any dying or yellow leaves on your Madagascar Palm, remove them. A sterilized knife is great for cutting off damaged parts of the succulent to prevent the spread of fungi and bacteria.

But be careful not to cut off the yellow tissues when cutting off damaged parts of the Madagascar Palm.

If the flowers of the plant are growing out of proportion, trim them as you deem fit.

How to Propagate Pachypodium Lamerei Plant

You can propagate Pachypodium lamerei in two ways: stem cuttings and seeds.

Seed Propagation

Propagating your Madagascar Palm from seeds is just as easy as propagating from stem cuttings. To propagate from seed, ensure you use a potting mix with the label “Cactus and Succulent.” You can also use compost mixed with perlite and sand.

The seeds should be at least 1cm deep in the soil. The “Cactus and Succulent” potting mix has good drainage, so the soil will be moderately moist to spur seed germination.

The best location for propagating Madagascar Palm via seeds is an environment with a temperature that is between 70 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You can place a translucent cloth over the pot to create a stable growing environment.

Everything being equal, the seeds should germinate in three to eight weeks. You can take off the cloth when the seedlings have produced about five leaves.

Stem Cuttings

Use stems that are about four inches long to propagate Pachypodium lamerei from stem cuttings since they are easier to form roots.

Use a sterilized pair of scissors to cut off the stems from the base and dip them into a rooting hormone to fast-track the propagation process. The stem cuttings of your Madagascar Palm will develop roots in about three to seven weeks, depending on the quality of the cuttings and environmental conditions.

Just like in seed propagation, use a specially formulated “Cactus and Succulent” potting mix and a pot with large drainage holes to prevent fungi diseases like blackleg.

The soil should be moderately moist, and the temperature should be about 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the top layer of the soil to dry out before you water again.

If the leaves are firm and green, as the roots develop, those are signs that your stem cuttings propagation is successful. After about four weeks, you can transplant the succulents to a bigger pot and care for them like mature succulents.

Common Problems with Pachypodium Lamerei

Some of the problems your Pachypodium lamerei may face include:

Root Rot

This problem arises from overwatering. The roots of your Madagascar Palms will start to rot, if the soil becomes oversaturated due to overwatering in the winter. If only a small part of the root is affected, you can trim it off and wait for new parts to grow.

If all the roots of the succulent are damaged, the only thing you can do is to cut off the dead roots and place the plant in a moist, compost soil and nurture it like a mature succulent. In three or four weeks, new roots will emerge from the base of the plant.

Leaf Shedding

The leaves of the Pachypodium lamerei tend to fall off during the summer and winter. As the plant ages, the older leaves at the bottom, which are already weak, will fall off, and fresh leaves will emerge in a few weeks.

During the winter, when the Madagascar Palm is usually dormant, leaves falling off indicates that growth is halted. Do not water the plant until growth resumes in the spring and new leaves appear.

Pest Attack

If you are growing your Madagascar Palm outdoors, be on the lookout for pests like mealybugs, thrips, scales, and spider mites. If these pests are not detected early, they can destroy your plant beyond remediation.

The best way to eliminate these pests is by using organic solutions like neem oil, baking soda, and insecticidal soaps.


Pachypodium lamerei is toxic, and if eaten by pets or humans, loss of appetite and vomiting may occur. The sharp spines and sap of the plant can lead to skin irritation and dermatitis, so you should put on a pair of gloves when handling the plant.

Also, consider seeking medical help if you consumed the Madagascar Palm in large quantities.

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