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Madagascar Palm

Pachypodium lamerei

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Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei) at Roger's Gardens

Madagascar Palm

Madagascar Palm

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei) at Roger's Gardens

Madagascar Palm flowers

Madagascar Palm flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei) at Roger's Gardens

Madagascar Palm foliage

Madagascar Palm foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  20 feet

Spread:  15 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  10a

Other Names:  Pachy Palm

Description:

Despite its common name, this plant is actually a succulent related to the cacti family; long, slender, dark green leaves surround the crown, shedding and emerging as the thorny stems grow upwards; a striking landscape or garden accent in frost free areas

Ornamental Features

Madagascar Palm features showy clusters of fragrant white star-shaped flowers with yellow eyes rising above the foliage from late winter to early spring. It has attractive dark green foliage with pointy creamy white spines. The glossy narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The spiny khaki (brownish-green) bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest.

Landscape Attributes

Madagascar Palm is an open spreading evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should never be pruned except to remove any dieback, as it tends not to take pruning well. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Madagascar Palm is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Vertical Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Madagascar Palm will grow to be about 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 4 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division.

Madagascar Palm makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Articulation  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Bark  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features