Pachypodium lamerei,nice variety with multiple trunks.
Pachypodium lamerei, variety Ramosum
Pachypodium succulentum seed pod
Pachypodium namaquamun seed pod
Pachypodium horombense seed pod
Pachypodium griquense seed pod
Pachypodium lamerei seed pod
Seed pod splitting to release seeds
Pachypodium lamerei seeds
Pachypodium rosulatum seed pod
Pachypodium cross "Arid Lands"
Pachypodium baroni at plant show
Pachypodium namaquanumn seedling
Pachypodium lealii saundersii
Pachypodiums were some of the first exotic succulent plants I became enamored with. The first specices I purchased was Pachypodium lamerei. This is most likely the first for many a collector, because of its high availability. Pachypodiums are indigenous to Africa and Madagascar. There are 25 plus species and subspecies. They are in the Apocynaceae family, which the more familiar plant Plumeria is also a member. This is quite evident when noticing the similarities of their flowers. In their natural environment Pachypodiums grow in very hostile conditions. Most grow in full sun, desert conditions, and between rocks and gravel which increase the heat they are exposed to via reflection. According to Gordon Rowley, Pachypodium brevicaule has been recorded growing in temperatures up to 70 degrees Celsius or 158 degrees Fahrenheit! As a result of these extreme conditions Pachypodiums grow "fat" swollen trunks. All species have spines, with Pachypodium decaryi having the tiniest. With good care most Pachypodiums will bloom at a young age. Most indigenous pollinators don't know how to pollinate their flowers. Fortunately they are not that difficult to pollinate by hand. With a little research and practice you can produce your own seeds. Seeds germinate easily, and grow relatively quickly.
I would not consider Pachypodiums the easiest succulent plants to grow. Some species like Pachypodium lamerei do fall into the category of easy, while others can be very difficult to grow. Pachypodiums prefer plenty of sun. Give them at least half day sun for good growth. Temperatures should never fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum growth. My plants are grown outdoors with temps. as low as 36 degrees F. With conditions like this keep plants dry and protected. I have lost many a plant with wet soil and cold temps. Soil should be well drained with a minimum of 50% perlite and 50% organics. Do not over-pot! Pachypodiums do best in small pots with limited root space. Putting your plants in large pots will not make them grow faster, it is a recipe for disaster. I have learned this the hard way! Some of my plants have been in the same pot for over ten years! Growing your plants "hard" will produce fat, compact growth which will resemble how these plants grow in nature. Many Pachypodiums will go dormant during winter months. Let them go dry between waterings, but not bone dry. Some species like Pachypodium namaquanum will go dormant in summer. Follow same procedure. All Pachyoodiums like light frequent feedings to maintain good growth. When plants are coming out of dormancy be careful not to over water to quickly. Leaves will grow before roots start growing. Wait a week or two to resume growing season watering regieme. I kill more plants at this time of year than any other. Inot sure, wait!
Best way to propagate Pachypodiums is by seed. Put seed down in 3 inch deep trays or pots, with well drained soil. Bury seeds about 1/8 inch deep. Keep damp until germination. Seeds should germinate in 3 to 12 days. I wait for at least a year before transplanting into individual pots. Growing from seed is fun and easy. Pachypodiums make stunning container specimens. Stage them as succulent bonsai for a great look!