Madagascar palm (Pachypodium lamerei) is not a true palm at all. Instead, it is a rather unusual succulent that is in the dogbane family. This plant usually grows in the form of a single trunk, although some form branches when wounded. If the trunk gets too tall, you may want to think about Madagascar palm pruning. Can you prune Madagascar palms? It is possible but carries some risk. Read on for information about trimming Madagascar palms.
About Madagascar Palm Pruning
Madagascar palm is native to southern Madagascar where the weather is very warm. It can only grow outside in the warmer areas of the country, like those found in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. In cooler zones, you have to bring it indoors for the winter.
Madagascar palm plants are succulent shrubs that grow trunks or stems up to 24 feet (8 m.) tall. The stems are large at the base and bear leaves and flowers only at the stem tip. If the stem is injured, it may branch and then both tips will grow foliage.
When the stem grows too big for your home or garden, you can reduce the size of the plant with Madagascar palm pruning. Pruning a Madagascar palm trunk is also a way to try to induce branching.
If you’ve never had one of these plants before, you may wonder about the advisability of trimming them. Can you prune Madagascar palm with good results? You can cut the top off the palm if you are willing to accept the risk.
Pruning a Madagascar Palm
Many Madagascar palms recover after pruning. According to experts, it has amazing regenerative properties. However, by pruning a Madagascar palm trunk, you are running a risk that your plant will not regrow after cutting. Each specimen is different.
Cutting off the top of the trunk injures the center of the leaf spiral. This way of pruning a Madagascar palm may cause the plant to branch or to regrow leaves from the wounded area. Be patient because it won’t regenerate overnight.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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