This Pachypodium saundersii has a thorny trunk that is now 32 inches long, with only one small branch near the base. This is not what I wanted to see. In some specimens, the caudex can get to one foot in diameter and with the branching, look like a small tree. I was expecting that look. I have since learned that I can cut the trunk back about one foot to where it’s about ¾ inch in diameter. This will encourage branching.
This South African plant is in the Apocynaceae Family, along with Adenium and Plumeria. The five-lobed white flowers of the P. saundersii look very similar to others in the family, such as the Adenium, Plumeria, Natal Plum, Nerium Oleander, and Vinca. My specimen has not yet bloomed although it is old enough. I think all its energy went into growing that long, skinny trunk.
This plant normally becomes dormant in winter and loses its leaves, but since I bring this plant into the house when the temperatures go below 50 º, it has always kept its leaves. Perhaps that has contributed to its shape. When I have it outside, which is 10 months of the year, I keep it in full sun until June, then in very light shade until October.
It will only take one snip with the pruning shears to get this plant going in the right direction—which is outward. I should go make that snip instead of sitting here writing about it. See you tomorrow.