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House Plants/Madagascar Palm

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Question
I have a 30 year old Madagascar Palm, which is now about 7-8 feet tall.  I move it out on the deck in summer and inside in winter, but it is so tall that I'd like to cut it off and re-plant with a smaller version.  Any hints on how to do that - that is, should I try to root the top part or just keep the bottom with its roots in tact?  Thanks!

Answer
Karen,

I consulted a friend of mine who is much more of an expert on that plant. It is best to wait till next June to do any propagating of your large pachypodium.

PROPAGATION: Usually, Pachypodium are grown from seed, and different websites report different degrees of success getting the seeds to sprout. The seeds don't store well, and are best used as soon as possible. They are also somewhat slow to germinate (about a month?) and not necessarily all that easy to find in the first place. As plants will occasionally branch on their own, sometimes from the base, people do occasionally take cuttings, for which the procedure is more or less the same as for cacti or Euphorbias: cut off a piece (mind the sap! And the thorns!), let it callous and dry in a bright but sunless spot for a week or two, then plant it upright in cacti soil with unbelievably good drainage and water very conservatively until there are signs of rooting. No more than a cup of water every 3 weeks. If your plant begins to rot, taking a cutting of a healthy part of the stem, if one exists, is your best bet at salvaging something. You have a 50/50 chance that the cutting will root and I reccomend that you keep the lower part of the plant as you have a 50/50 chance that it may grow a branch as a new top. Good luck! Hope it works for you. Write again if you have more questions.

Darlene  

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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