Sick cactus

by Heidi
(Jerusalem, Israel)

Pachypodium lamerei

Pachypodium lamerei

This cactus with long, sharp, hard spikes and leaves in the upper portion is not doing well.

It has been in the same spot for about 2 years, and not much has changed in that time. It is a sunny spot with afternoon sun, but it is not in direct sunlight.

Can you tell me what is wrong with it?

Hi Heidi, I replied to your other post about this plant, but maybe you didn't get the response. A visitor to the Drought Smart Plants Facebook page said this: "Pachypodium lamerei. It comes from Madagascar. Definitely needs good draining soil. :)" so I've looked it up here: Madagascar Palm - hope that helps with some guidelines for how to grow it.

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Aug 27, 2012
Madagascar palm
by: Kathleen

Hi Heidi,

I live in south Florida and have lots of these pachypodiums and adore them. They need LOTS of sun, and yes, they need good draining soil, but don't mind good watering as long as it doesn't stand. I would say give it more water and lots more sun and some fertilizer every month. I have large specimens in the ground, small specimens in pots, and they are all outside and thriving and blooming to beat the band!

Good luck!

Aug 27, 2012
One more question on the Madagascar Palm
by: Heidi

The top quarter of it seems to be drying out and sort of withering up. Does this mean it is dying?

Aug 27, 2012
Does it need water?
by: Kathleen

It looks thirsty to me - healthy leaves are succulently green and perky. This is not a cactus and likes good watering as long as it drains.

Aug 28, 2012
Thank you, Kathleen
by: heidi

I'll try watering it more frequently. Thanks for your response.


Jan 21, 2013
Wish I could find one locally!
by: Anonymous

Wish I could find one for sale here locally! Such a beauty!

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cacti or not a cacti, that is the question

by Cathey

This 10 to 12 inch plant has spines up the column and palm type heart on the top producing long thin leaves. The spines are a V shape and lighter in color. The column has a pale, sage like color and tapers down to the base. Has not flowered and don't know if it will.

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Nov 08, 2014
Sideways or upside down...
by: Jacki

This is Pachypodium lamerii, otherwise known as Madagascar Palm, so your description is right on the money.

These cacti need to have extremely well drained soil - if they are the slightest bit over watered, that will kill them quicker than you can blink an eye.

Someone else asked about this same plant here; Sick Cactus and I posted a link to more information about it.

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