Madagascar Palm: 5 Steps To Successfully Propagate

Let me show you how to propagate your own Madagascar Palm. If you don't have this plant in your collection, you should. It's easy to take care of and adds a exotic look to your houseplant collection.

Pachypodium lamerei is a branch of the Apocynaceae family. Also known as the Madagascar palm, this is the most beautiful known Pachypodium. Also, it is the only plant in its genus used as an indoor plant. The Madagascar Palm is a tall shrub or small tree, depending on its size.

Madagascar’s palms do well indoors. They all have very swollen irregular bases with thick and incredibly sharp spines. These plants have simple, narrow leaves. It produces delicate and fragrant flowers in summer.

It may survive outdoors in mild winter areas, such as Phoenix, or cultivated indoors as a container plant. If grown outdoors, it will blossom a white flower from spring to late summer and may reach a height of 15 feet.  

Propagating Requirements For Madagascar Palm

The below tips will be helpful before you start propagating your Pachypodium lamerei:

Use a Clay Vessel

Pachypodium lamerei can get big and large, and it also needs lots of soil to help them conserve water. Hence, you have to use a clay jar instead of a plastic one. The clay jar holds the plant better and prevents it from falling onto the ground. Ensure the clay container has drainage holes in it to avoid root rot.

A clay pot.
The clay jar holds the plant better and prevents it from falling onto the ground.

Give It the Right Location

The perfect place means that the plant could receive plenty of sunlight. While the plant does not necessarily make regular photosynthesis, sunlight keeps it healthy and closer to the climate in its natural habitat. Place in a room that receives a lot of the sun, like next to a south-facing window.

There Is No Need for Additional Food

Pachypodium lamerei does not require fertilizer regularly. One of the main reasons many planters or hobbyists consider the plant easy to grow.

Of course, if you want to provide additional nutrition, an organic fertilizer diluted with medium-strength water can help the plant grow in spring and summer. In addition, all you need to take care of is the frequency of watering and exposure to sunlight.

Choose the Correct Potting Mixture

Use a quick-drain potting mix, such as a cactus mixture, and a pot in a container with drain holes to prevent root decay. Use a combination of succulent soil/cactus, which contains plenty of gravel and drains freely.

A soil in the pot.
Use a quick-drain potting mix, such as a cactus mixture.

Things worth noting When You Are Taking Cuttings

For faster rooting, remove cuttings as plants grow, usually in spring. Wipe prunes, sharp knives, or scissors with an alcohol-soaked cloth to prevent the spread of diseases.

Madagascar palm has a highly toxic sap with toxic glycosides. If swallowed, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, irregular heartbeat, and even death if consumed in large quantities.

They also have prominent, pointed, three-pointed spines. Therefore, wear protective clothing with closed shoes, waterproof gloves, long pants, and long sleeves before cutting. Wash the milky sap by plunging the cut end in a bowl of clean water.

Madagascar palm in a white pot.
You can tell that your plant has established roots when the plant is secure.

Cut approximately 3-5 inches from the tip of a stem. Break the lower leaves so that there is a bare area on the stem’s bottom around 1 to 2 inches long. Place the cut in the shade for two to seven days, depending on the size of the cut stalk, until it forms a hard coat on the wounds.

Insert the end of the bare stem into a 3″ wide pot with drain holes. The potting mix should have equal peat moss and perlite parts. Water it until the water flows through the drain holes. Place the pot in a shaded area until you notice new roots. You can tell that your plant has established roots when the plant is secure, and you feel some resistance when you pull the plant.

Propagation Of The Madagascan Palm

Madagascar Palm has become one of the best-known pachypodiums in cultivation, being comparatively easy to spread and grow. There are two main ways of propagating a Madagascar palm.

You can grow the palm from seeds, even though this may be more difficult and longer. You can also cut a stem of a mother plant which is far more manageable. But, first, let’s look at different methods of propagation.

Propagation by Seed

The best way of spreading Pachypodiums is through seed. Seed is the sole means of breeding plants in nature. Sow seeds in the spring at a temperature of 66-75°F (19-24°C). Glue the pair of horn-shaped pods as they turn light brown with strips of masking tape or cotton thread. Gluing prevents the fruit from breaking down when ripe and releasing the seed.

The seeds quickly lose their viability. Gather the fresh seeds from the glued pods. Dip the seeds for a minimum of 24 hours in hot water. Next, sow in a sandy medium. Keep humid and at a temperature of 27°C to 35°C for quick sprouting. All seeds that failed to germinate after six weeks may be considered non-viable.

Plant seeds on hand.
Seed is the sole means of breeding plants in nature.

If you live in a colder area, you can start planting indoors under a grow light or on a seedbed.

Place the seeds in trays or pots 3 inches deep, with well-drained soil. Bury the seeds approximately 1/8 inch in depth. Keep moist till germinating. Give it time because the Madagascar palm grows relatively slowly, between three weeks and six months.

Is It Necessary to Soak the Seeds First?

By soaking seeds before planting, you can significantly reduce seed germination time. You rapidly raise the moisture content around the seeds, which tells them that it is now safe to grow.

If you soak too much in the water, the seeds will drown. Therefore, it is advisable to soak only most seeds for 12 to 24 hours and no longer than 48 hours. The advantage of soaking the seeds before planting is that your germination time will be less, which means you can have happy, quicker plant growth.

Propagation Through Stem Cuttings

Madagascar palms quickly propagate through the stem and root cuttings. Use a pair of sterilized scissors to collect 100 to 220 mm long cuttings from the youngest branches at the end of spring. Seal the ends and plunge into the rooting hormone to accelerate propagation.

The stem cuttings of your Madagascar palm will take three to seven weeks to develop, depending on the quality of the cuttings and the environmental conditions. Use a specially formulated potting blend and a pot with large drainage holes to prevent fungal diseases.

The soil should be moderately damp, and the temperature should be around 66 degrees Fahrenheit. A warm, semi-shaded, and moist environment will ensure those root cuttings are successful.

Let the upper layer of soil dry up before watering again. If the leaves are solid and green, as the roots grow, these are signs that the propagation of your cuttings is successful. After about four weeks, you may transplant the succulents into a larger pot and care for them as mature succulents.

Propagating by Offsets

Offsets are small branches that sometimes appear at the base of the plant, which you can remove to create a new plant. For growing “Madagascar Palm” from offsets, use a sterile and pointed knife or a pair of scissors. The Madagascar Palm” has a poisonous sap and sharp thorns along the stem.

Small madagascar palm exposed to sunlight.
Ensure you provide adequate water and light and monitor soil humidity.

Checkout for offsets at the base of the trunk of Madagascar Palm for small plant offsets. Then cut the offshoots from the bottom of the trunk and remove one of the circular offsets from the trunk of the primary plant. Let it harden for several days before placing it in well-drained soil. Then plant the offsets in a pot. Ensure you provide adequate water and light and monitor soil humidity.

Repotting Of Newly Propagated Madagascar Palms

The Madagascar palm is dense with a thick stem and relatively small roots. When choosing a new home for your plant, consider a clay pot, which not only soaks up excess water but also balances a heavy plant better than a plastic pot.

Be careful with sharp thorns when transporting your newly propagated Madagascar palm into a big pot. Wrap your plant if it is small enough in the cardboard or newspapers around it and pull it up through the paper edges.

However, the use of heavy gloves will give you greater control over the plant. Take care that the thorns do not pierce your gloves; when scraped or cut, the plant releases a toxic white sap that irritates the skin. After removal, put the plant in a slightly larger pot with cactus soil. During the preparation of your potting blend, add perlite or sand for additional drainage.

Bottom Line

Although the Madagascar Palm is easy to take care of, you may need to know more if you want to propagate Pachypodium lamerei. Reproducing this attractive succulent requires patience because the plant only develops offsets after a couple of years, while seeds can take a few months to sprout. However, the result is worth the wait because this attractive indoor succulent is lush and eye-catching once you have successfully propagated it.

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