Madagascar Palm Tree: The #1 Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide

Madagascar Palm tree is a succulent shrubby plant originating from Madagascar. It has a thick silver stem covered in sharp spines and leathery green leaves on top. It has become one of among the most exotic plants for home garden scaping and would make an excellent addition to your decor. Read about Madagascar Palm care in this article.

Madagascar Palm Tree

Despite the fact that it is called a “palm,” the Madagascar Palm is not a palm plant. This indicates that it doesn’t need much care in terms of humidity and watering requirements.

The Madagascar Palm plant is also known as “Pachypodium lamerei.” When cultivated outside, the Madagascar plant may grow up to 20 feet tall and develop white trumpet-like blooms.

Profile

Madagascar Palm Tree Profile

General Information

The Pachypodium lamerie or Madagascar Palm Tree is a flowering plant of the Pachypodium genus that belongs to the Apocynaceae dogbane family. It is a succulent plant native to Southern Madagascar, an island off the African east coast. This plant photosynthesizes mostly through its trunk.

Madagascar palm trees are cultivated in warmer parts of Madagascar, which is best in full sun. The plant has a silvery to grayish trunk with sharp spines that can grow up 6.25 centimeters. Long, slender, narrow leaves grow on the top of the stem, similar to a palm.

Etymology

Pachypodium lamerei is the scientific name for Madagascar palm tree. The term is derived from the Ancient Greek words pachus and podion, which refer to a swollen caudex. 

In Greek, Pachypodium means “thick foot,” which relates to the thick trunk of this tree. And the species name “lamerei” may be derived from a botanist by the name of “Lamere” who lived in the nineteenth century. 

Flowering

Flowering

The Madagascar Lamerei Tree is a flowering plant in the Apocynaceae family. When cultivated outside, the Madagascar palm may produce white trumpet-like flowers, but it seldom blooms when grown indoors.

The plant blooms each spring and early summer. The blooms are usually white, although they can also be yellow or pink.

RELATED: 25 Beautiful Flowering Succulents To Grow Indoors (With Pictures)

Season of Interest and Purchasing

Since Madagascar palm trees like warm weather and intense sunlight, spring and summer are the most desirable times of year for them. Pachypodium lamerei “Madagascar Palm” is a great shrub succulent to grow indoors or outside in milder regions. The Madagascar Palm Tree grows slowly inside but becomes rather tall in an outside garden.

Growth

Madagascar palm tree plants may grow up to 20 feet tall when cultivated outdoors but only reach 1.2–1.8 m (3.9–5.9 ft) tall when grown indoors. It has a silvery-gray trunk that is covered in sharp, approximately 6.25 cm long spines.

The narrow leaves are 8 to 12 inches long and are a rich, glossy green. Furthermore, its blossoms are 2 to 3 inches in width.

Madagascar Palm Tree Overview
Scientific name Pachypodium lamerei
Common name/s Madagascar Palm
Family Apocynaceae
Growth Habit Succulent shrub or small tree
Height and Spread Can grow up to 20 feet tall outdoors, only up to 6 feet tall indoors
Classification based on life cycle Perennial
Origin and Distribution Madagascar, East Coast of Africa
Climate Zone Generally mild to warmer climate
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone USDA Zone 9-11
Color Leather green leaves on thick, silvery stem

Care Tips

Care Tips

Light Requirement

Madagascar palm plants prefer strong light and full sun. It is a succulent plant that appreciates direct sunlight from the sun. However, it can tolerate partly shaded light conditions in the outdoors. 

If you choose to place your Madagascar plant indoors, always make sure it receives adequate sunshine. Place this plant directly next to a west or south-facing window with plenty of full sunlight.

Temperature Requirement

This plant can survive in normal room temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius). Always make sure that you put your Madagascar palm plant in a location with temperature above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, or in the outdoors, full of sunlight. It would surely love it. 

Just bring it back inside when the temperature drops, as it does not tolerate cold temperatures and is susceptible to frostbites. 

Water Requirement

Too much moisture is not good for the Madagascar palm. Since it is native to a region with dry weather and soil, this plant only needs a tiny quantity of water. As soon as the top soil becomes dry, water the plant. Just enough to keep the soil moist and prevent it from drying out. 

You may water your plants less in the winter than many other plants. However, when watering is needed, it is necessary to totally submerge the plant until it escapes through the drainage holes.

Humidity Requirement

Being a succulent plant, the Madagascar palm tree doesn’t need a lot of humidity. However, a humidity level of 40% in your home is suitable for your plants.

Soil Requirement

Standard soil mixtures are suitable for the Madagascar palm, but if you want to be extra cautious, add some grit to enhance drainage. Please keep it in a pot with a drainage hole and a well-draining cactus potting mix since it wants to be dry.

Plant it in cactus compost for the best results. Maintain a moderately acidic to mildly alkaline pH between 6.1 and 7.8.

Fertilizer Requirement

During the summer, give the plant a monthly dose of balanced liquid fertilizer. Don’t fertilize the plant throughout the winter months. The fertilizer will help the leaves grow stronger and flower more.

However, too much fertilizer will destroy this succulent plant. As a result, compost is chosen since it slowly releases nutrients.

Space Requirement

An area of 36 to 48 inches wide is required for your Madagascar palm. Madagascar palms need bright sunshine, so plant them outside or in containers indoors or on a patio placed near windows.

Choose a clay pot with appropriate drainage holes to grow plants during the summer when temperatures are higher. This will help prevent root rot.

Growing and Planting Tips

Propagation

A Madagascar palm tree may be multiplied in two different ways. You can either use seeds or plant offsets to multiply.

Propagating by cutting a sprout

Cutting a sprout from a mother plant is the simplest method of propagating a Madagascar palm tree. Look for little plant offsets and cut them at the base of the Madagascar palm’s trunk. Prepare your pot with succulent or cactus potting soil mix, which has a lot of grit and drains well. 

Place the pot in a warm window that receives bright light inside or outdoors in a well-lit spot. Then you may now maintain your Madagascar palm. Lightly water the soil to make it moist.

 Propagating by seeds

Although it might be more challenging and time-consuming, you can cultivate the palm tree from seeds. First, allow the pods to air dry completely for one to four weeks to allow them to fully mature and break apart to reveal the white-winged seeds. 

After that, put the seeds inside a small cup and soak them in warm water for 24 hours. Next, get the seed tray ready. Place a seed tray in a warm, sunny area and fill it with gritty sand. It might take three weeks to six months for Madagascar palm seeds to sprout.

Pruning

A Madagascar palm barely requires pruning. However, doing so is a strategy to keep your plant smaller or to encourage branching. Because a Madagascar palm that has been pruned may branch or sprout new leaves from the wound.

Since this plant truly has incredible regeneration abilities, But take note that it won’t regrow just overnight, so have some patience. 

To prevent infection, pruning the tree with care entails cutting the top with sharp pruning shears or a sterilized gardening knife.

Potting and Repotting

The Madagascar palm tree is a top-heavy plant with a thick trunk and very few roots. Repot it every three years or whenever it outgrows its current container because, despite its gradual growth, it might collapse over when it gets too big. The best season to repot your Madagascar palm is between spring and summer.

 To avoid tipping, using a heavy container is a good idea. In addition, use caution when handling this plant due to its sharp spines. However, repotting a Madagascar palm is simple with the right gardening equipment.

Madagascar Palm Tree Care
Light Strong light, full sun
Temperature Generally warm, 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit
Water Water only once the top two to three inches are dried out
Soil Airy, well-draining, cactus potting mix
Fertilization Once in early spring
Space Wide space recommended
Propagation Via cutting or seed propagation
Blooming Blooms during spring and early summer
Pruning Does not require regular pruning
Potting Well draining cactus potting mix

RELATED: Best Ways to Propagate New Succulents from Leaves and Cuttings

Problems and Troubleshooting

Problems and Troubleshooting

Overwatering 

Overwatering, which causes root rot, is your Madagascar palm’s most frequent health risk. Root rot is a common problem in specimens resting in overly damp or waterlogged soil for an extended period. Additionally, browning or yellowing of the foliage is also an indication of overwatering.

 Ensure you let the soil completely dry up before watering it again. Keep in mind that the Madagascar palm wants to stay dry; as a result, monitor your plant’s watering schedule and keep it in a pot with good drainage.

Underwatering

The Madagascar palm loves to keep dry. Therefore, receiving a little water is better than receiving too much. However, too little, which happens when your plant is underwatered, might result in curled leaves and dried-out brown edges. 

Additional indications of under-watering include a shriveled stem, yellowing leaves, little to no growth, and the development of dry, crispy spots on the edges of the leaves.

Nutrient Deficiency

Due to nutrient deficiency, the leaves of your Madagascar palm tree may become yellow or darken and eventually die. Additionally, stunted growth and poor health are signs of nutrient shortage, and drought may be one of the causes. 

To promote healthy growth, apply a diluted houseplant fertilizer at the start of spring and summer. Madagascar palms will grow quickly and mayflower freely if they are happy and healthy.

Flowering Problems

Since the plant needs to mature and grow ultimately before flowering, the Madagascar palm rarely flowers indoors. Additionally, it takes many years for your plant to mature enough to produce an unscented flower.

But if you truly want to see it bloom, give it plenty of light and the necessary habitat, care, and treatment. Then, you can have a blooming Madagascar palm with plenty of sunlight and occasional watering.

Madagascar Palm Tree Pests and Diseases
Temperature
Symptoms
Treatment and Prevention
Common diseases include crown rot, stem rot, root rot, leaf spot, fungal diseases, and Xanthomonas infection Yellowish rimming around black or dark brown spots on leaves Avoid overwatering. Keep soil dry. Avoid too high humidity.
Proper ventilation is needed around the plant. Remove infected parts of fungal infections to avoid spreading.
Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales Visible insects on the surface Spray plant with warm, soapy water. If infestation is present, use insecticide or neem oil. Use diatomaceous earth.

Problems with People and Animals

Toxicity

Due to its toxic sap, the Madagascar palm is poisonous to both people and animals if consumed. It also contains sharp spines that can penetrate the skin, causing skin irritation and dermatitis.

So, be cautious and keep the plant away from your children and pets; anyone handling this plant should wear gloves.

Madagascar Palm Tree Plant Meaning and Symbolism

Madagascar Palm Tree Plant Meaning and Symbolism

Due to the form of its inflated stems, the name Pachypodium, which is derived from the Greek words pachus, meaning “thick,” and podion, meaning “foot,” means “thick-footed.” It stands for strength, endurance, and selfless love.

Madagascar Palm Tree Symbolism and Meaning
General Meaning Self-love
Symbolism Strength, Selfless Love, and Endurance

Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

Companion Plants

Before combining this plant with other plants, make sure you have enough room for development and that you can place it firmly because of its spiney properties.

The Madagascar palm is an excellent companion plant for the arid garden. Palms, ficus, and Dieffenbachia are suggested companions for this plant.

Landscaping Ideas

This plant may be used as a sun-loving container plant, an anchor for a succulent garden bed, or on an outdoor patio. You can put it in. Put it by the entrance as an accent plant. Keep Madagascar away from places where people are mostly. The vicious spines of Madagascar may pierce someone.

What to plant with Palms, Ficus, Dieffenbachia
What NOT to plant with Basically nothing

RELATED: How to Water Succulents? (Short & Effective Instructions)

Conclusion

Conclusion

This plant makes your home look like an exotic indoor jungle, with the appearance of both a palm and a cactus. It has Long, leathery green leaves that grow on top of a thick silver trunk that is covered with sharp spines. 

Its trunk has a minimum height indoors. It reaches 6 feet, and outdoors it will reach 20 feet. Native from southern Madagascar, this plant is a succulent plant.

Therefore it requires less care in terms of watering and humidity requirements. In general, the Madagascar Palm care is easy and straightforward.

FAQS

How cold can Madagascar Palm tolerate?

 The optimum temperature for your Madagascar Palm is 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As a tropical plant, it can endure summer heat outdoors. However, when the temperature drops to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you should bring it indoors to avoid frostbites. 

What happens if you get poked by a palm tree thorn??

 If you get poked by a Madagascar Palm tree thorn, expect a localized inflammation on the particular part you get poked at. This inflammation reaction can lead to stiffness, swelling, pain, and loss of motion range in dire situations. 

How long does it take for a Madagascar palm to bloom??

Madagascar Palm Trees bloom during summer up until the early spring. The flowers are white, scented, and saucer-shaped. However, it would take up to 10 years or more for the plant to be fully matured. Only mature plants are ready to develop flowers.

Why are the leaves on my Madagascar palm turning yellow??

 Non-optimal environmental conditions cause the yellowing of leaves. It could be a sign of underwatering. See if shriveled stems and crispy leaf edges accompany it.

It can also be a sign of overwatering if it is accompanied by root or stem rotting. Observe your plant and proceed with appropriate measures as necessary.

What kind of soil does a Madagascar palm need?

Your Madagascar Palm Tree loves a sandy soil mix – airy, well-draining, and rich. Since it is succulent, it does not want to be overwatered; hence an airy, moist sand mix is a perfect choice.

To avoid root rotting, only water when the soil completely dries out.

Silvana Koleva

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