This is my second Pachypodium brevicaule ; I rotted the first one. And interestingly, when I researched this species again for this story, I read that they are in fact easy to rot! Then the article went on to say that grafted specimens are much easier to grow, grow faster, and less prone to rotting. Which is also exactly what Woody Minnich told me when I bought this second one from him in 2019. And it is now blooming for the first time.
I can’t tell you what plant it is grafted on. I am not into grafting myself, so I don’t know much about it. I am just glad it works and my little plant is happy. Of course, now I am also more aware of its watering schedule and try to be more careful with it. Look below the slight curve where the plant looks different, and you can see the graft.
This shrubby caudiciform succulent is native to South Central Madagascar where it grows on exposed sandstone and likes acidic conditions. It also likes warmth and good drainage, so for best results protect it in winter, give it plenty of sun, and soil with pumice for that drainage. Wouldn’t hurt to check the acidity of your water, either. It is considered a dwarf plant of the genus, which makes it stand out since many pachypodiums of other varieties can get quite large, tree-size, in fact. P. brevicaules grow to about four inches tall and twelve inches in diameter. Older plants will have flowers all over them; as you can see, mine is not there yet! But it does have two more buds about to open.
Because it is an unusual and popular pachypodium, its conservation status is listed as vulnerable, which puts it one step away from being endangered. So losing one to rotting is a shame.
P. brevicaule loses its leaves in winter dormancy, which is also when watering needs to slow down, but don’t let it stay completely dry for long periods of time. The leaves re-sprout in the spring. I read it will bloom in late spring, early summer, but here it is blooming in March in a part of Texas where winter isn’t fully over till late April. I guess that means it is happy in its greenhouse.
I came back a few days later and the first bloom was spent and had fallen off. But then a few days more, and I was delighted to see more blooms!