Learn All About The Madagascar Palm And The Right Way To Care About It!

The Madagascar palm will give you those tropical feels right in your house without you having to worry much about the care that an actual palm may require because this plant isn’t a palm. This is one amazing plant that is not what it appears but is many things yet. Read on to know this exciting plant and how to have it blooming in your garden.


Madagascar palm

If you haven’t ever known a plant that can be both a succulent and a shrub, then let us introduce the fantastic Madagascar palm tree to you. The first and most interesting thing that you must know about this plant is that even though it has the looks of a palm tree, it is not even remotely related to the palm tree family. On the larger part, they are succulents and are known to perform photosynthesis via their stems which explains the storage of water in this part.

These palm trees are also known by their scientific name which is Pachypodium lamerei and are members of the plant family called Apocynaceae and genus Pachypodium. The term pachypodium denotes thick foot which is fitting to the nature of this plant. Many other names have been given to it like Pachy, Ghost Men Plant, Three-Spined Club Foot, Summer-Blooming Clubfoot, etc.

These trees are native to the Madagascar region of Africa and are hardy enough to grow in any other region in a wide range of conditions with the right care. These plants look very stunning when grown for indoor purposes and their miniature forms can be grown very easily.

Physical characteristics of the Madagascar palm plant

The ‘palm but not palm’ tree is majorly grown for the vertical dimensions they add to any space and this is made possible with the extraordinary morphological features it has. Let’s take a look at them:

  • The leaves of this plant look amazing with the shine and dark green hue and can grow as long as 15 inches and 4 inches wide. They look like danglers and are neatly arranged in spirals over the top. These leaves wither during winters and fall off to give way to new ones that grow in spring.
  • Flowers rarely grow in these plants but they do give up unscented, big, and white flowers when in their native growth environment. The smaller succulents give yellow, cream, pink, and red flowers as well but only in the spring season.
  • The trunk of the plant is interesting as well and flaunts a very smooth silhouette like body with spines running all over. The stem gets thicker with further growth and is meant to hold water for the plant’s needs.
  • The maximum height and width of these plants can be 24 feet and 2 feet respectively. However, they can be grown as smaller succulent pot plants too which have earned them the name Madagascar cactus because, in their miniature form, they look like small cactus plants.
  • These plants have seed pods too that appear like cucumbers.

Growing the Madagascar palm plant

If you have been thinking that the giant palm trees can only be beautifying the commercial spaces as they might require special care, then get happy as you can have these palm models growing in your house with a very simple growth and care process. Let’s take a look at the various aspects of Madagascar palm care.

Basic requirements of the plant

Here is a list of the things you will have to ensure for the good growth of this plant:

  • Choosing the place to grow this plant depends on the local climate conditions. They do well outside in warmer regions and must be grown indoors when it’s chillier outside most of the time.
  • These tropical plants love the sun and like to be in warm conditions. Make sure that you grow your plant in a location where they get full and direct sunlight and plenty of it. For the indoor plants, keep them in warm rooms or use a heater to keep them warm in chilling conditions.
  • The ideal temperature for these plants to grow well is anything above 55 degrees F as they love warmth a little too much.
  • Any cactus potting soil mix can be good for starting this plant which is also well-draining. Make sure to make holes in the pot for preventing root rot due to excessive moisture.

Method of propagating the plant

There are two ways of starting Madagascar palm tree and here are the details of them.

With seeds-

This is a difficult method and even gives late results but you can try it if you have some level of gardening expertise at hand that can make it possible. You can get these seeds from the plant seed pods or purchase them. These seeds take a lot of effort and time to germinate successfully so they need to be soaked for one to two days in warm water before going into the soil.

Take the soaked seeds and insert them directly into the prepared and moist soil. Keep the plant in a warm room and water it every day. You will have to wait at most till 6 months for seeing the seeds sprout.

With plant offsets-

This is the easier method of starting this plant as the palm plant offsets give a mid start. You just need to get the offsets from a mature plant that grows close to the trunk base and forms a cacti ball-like shape. You can find them underneath the leaves and just break off these offsets carefully.

Leave these offshoots for about 4-8 days till they are completely dry. Then, insert them in the pot or prepared soil amended with sand followed by watering them continuously till the roots emerge. You may see the leaves dying during this process but that’s natural and they will re-emerge after the roots form.

Caring for the Madagascar palm plant

Madagascar palm

The Madagascar palm care is no extensive deal and there are only a few but important things that need to be taken care of.

  • Water the plant only enough to keep the moisture intact in the soil and only when the soil gets fully dry. Cut off on watering during winters.
  • Any houseplant fertilizer can be diluted and applied to these plants during the springs and summers for healthy growth. Fertilizing is not necessary if you have used a fertilizer based potting mix.
  • Repotting can be done once in three years or more for allowing space for growth.
  • Minor pests and diseases like fungal infections, discoloration, spider mites, etc might bug your cactus palm plant but you can fix that by removing the affected parts simply or treating the whole plant with Neem oil-based insecticide solution.
  • Remove the rotten or dead leaves for the good health of the plant.
  • These plants usually go dormant in the winter season and you don’t have to do anything about the leaves falling off as a result of it.


This was all about the amazing Madagascar palm succulent that anyone can grow in their house for the decorative purpose that they serve. Growing and caring about this plant is very easy and you just need to put in the right efforts in the smarter way to get the best results.

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