Pachypodium, the monster on my windowsill

My reputation as Helen the Houseplant Killer might be at risk. I keep discovering plants that resist my planticidal tendencies. Like the one above, which arrived as a gift from our son three years ago.

It still lives! Not only that, if it lives longer, it might qualify as a killer itself, or at least as a dangerous weapon. It’s super-spiky Madagascar palm (Pachypodium lamerei), a tropical stem succulent that in our climate is an easy-to-find house plant. Read about it here, at my go-to plant resource Dave’s Garden.

Look at those spines! See what I mean about weapons?

After two summers outdoors and winters on my south-facing office windowsill, my once-wee Pachypodium (which roughly translates as “fat stem”) has doubled in size. If it gets larger, I’ll have to repot it – being very careful handling those dangerous spines. It’s unlikely the bigger pot will fit on my skinny south windowsill. And sun in winter is kind of a must-have for this plant.

Maybe I’ll live up to my nickname after all.

How big will it get? Well, here’s one bumping the ceiling of the cactus house at Allan Gardens.

Whatever will I do with my lovely monster?

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