I have a delightful new addition to my cacti/succulent family. It was a present from some dear friends who attended the Mediterranean Garden Show in the Eastern Algarve. They know I love quirky, so they bought me quirky.
Thank you *big smilie face*
After thanking them for the gift I asked them for the name of the plant… err they didn’t know. Ah, right. I then took a photo and consulted Mr. Google with an image search. His best guess was a palm tree. No, Mr Google, it is NOT a palm tree, FAIL! (Turns out hew was closer than I original thought)
Well, if Mr. Google can’t recognise this alien plant what an earth is it? Okay, thinking outside the box I typed: ‘cacti with leaves’, in the search box.
Eureka! It’s a succulent palm! – A Pachypodium Lamerei (Madagascar Palm)
I’ve called it Madge.
The Pachypodium Lamerei originates from Madagascar in Africa. according to further research on Guide to Houseplants , it isn’t really a palm but a succulent from the Apocyanaceae family.
Flowers: Yes, it has clusters of fragrant, white flowers in summer (on mature plants) if it has plenty of sunlight.
Leaves: It may drop it’s leaves in winter so don’t panic.
Temperature: The Madagascar Palm won’t tolerate frost and the world of succulents website states:
the minimum temperature is about 55° F (13° C), but it depends very much on the moisture of the substrate. The drier the substrate, the lower temperatures are possible. Ideally you shouldn’t fall below a minimum temperature of 59° F (15° C) during the rest period.
Bad news for Madge – she will live outside on a covered sheltered terrace, in full sun next to the house wall. Our winter temps can drop down to +1C at night so hopefully she will be okay.
Water: Water thoroughly and only allow the top of to dry out between waterings in the summer. Sounds like sound advice but my pots aren’t transparent. Another site
For beginners it is sometimes difficult to consider when and how much water you should give the Pachypodium. You should not treat it like a cactus in any case. A helpful rule is to not be completely dry to the soil during periods of growth before it is poured again.
Soil: 2 parts soil 1 part sharp sand or perlite.
Feed: Spring and summer with cacti fertiliser
After extensive research I now wonder how I will care for Madge during the winter months. While we have space indoors, the rooms do not get direct sunlight. Maybe I will need to leave her outside until the colder weather takes hold then just bring her inside for a few months. I think it will be a matter of trial and error.