Pachypodiums: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

We have 155 images of 34 pachypodiums in our Pachypodiums database. Click here to browse or search the plants in this database.

These spiny caudiciform succulents come in a fascinating variety of shapes and sizes, from the more common trees to shrubs and sub-shrubs, plants with swollen below-ground caudices, and a bizarre blob-like species which grows wider but not taller than a few inches. Most make white or yellow flowers in profusion when they are established and show a striking seasonal growth pattern.

Origins and Climate
These plants are native to southern Africa and Madagascar. For the most part they come from summer rainfall areas, and they thrive with summer rainfall. They tend to do much better in Florida than California due to the seasonal rainfall pattern, but can be adapted to any mild climate, given the right location and good care. + Show More

Varieties
There are about 20 species of Pachypodium. The two most common Pachypodiums in cultivation (P. lamerei and geayi) account for at least 95% of the plants in gardens. They are very similar looking trees with white flowers and not easy to distinguish until they are mature. They make excellent container plants for years and are the easiest to keep going long term. Other trees found less often in cultivation include P. lealii, P. rutenbergianum, and P. sofiense. + Show More

Care
All Pachypodiums require strong light and thrive in full sun when mature. They tolerate some drought, and are specialists in this aspect in nature, but do much better in cultivation when provided regular water during their active growth season, especially in containers. + Show More

Propagation
Pachypodiums are generally grown from seed, and the more common plants (P. lamerei and geayi) are fast and easy to grow this way. They are often self-fertile, so a plant flowering in isolation may produce a seed pod, which breaks open when ripe to release flat seeds with dandelion-like parachutes. After flowering, a stem often branches, and these branches can later be cut and used to start new plants, with varying success.

Provide young seedlings some protection, strong light, excellent drainage, and regular water during the first year or more of growth. Do not allow the soil to go completely dry or stay dry during this sensitive early period.

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