Pachypodium succulentum (2016)

PhotoBy Doug Deem (November 2016)

I finally won the show plant of the month, a nice caudiciform Pachypodium succulentum. This will be my first attempt at growing a succulent caudiciform.

It is a wicked-looking plant with a beautifully shaped caudex. It is native to South Africa (Cape Province) and thrives in arid, rocky places. This species is said to be the most cold-hardy species of Pachypodium.

The slender, twisted branches have narrow, hairy, dark-green leaves scattered along the stems. The upper parts of the branches are scattered with spines.

The most common flower color was listed as pink or crimson. White-flowering plants do exist, but are supposed to have smaller flowers. The blooming season was listed as August through December.

The caudex is very prone to rot, and the plant goes dormant during our winter. It should be watered very little, if at all, from November to March. It is recommended to water frequently during spring and summer. The caudex should be protected from sunburn in the hot summer sun and protected from frost in winter.

The soil should be allowed to dry between waterings, but never allowed to completely dry out, even during the dormant season. It has been reported that indigenous people have used the caudex as a food source.