Pachypodium namaquanum

half man
Unique pachypodium from Namibia has ornate wavy leaves on tall thin trunk. Seasonal leaf shed adds interest. Shelter from winter rain / cold.
Pachypodium namaquanumPachypodium namaquanum
height 2–4
width 8–18
tolerates Drought, Deer , Heat, Pots
exposure Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Requires Perfect Drainage
fertilizing All Purpose 1/2 Strength
origin Namibia
17, 22–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

Unlike other pachypodiums, that usually branch at some point, P. namauanum seems content to be a single stem indefinitely. They grow taller and taller, often leaning and tapering down to a little head of wavy leaves. However, if you’d like multiple heads you can cut the top of your pachypodium off and it will come back with multiple heads at that point, though you should only do this in the late spring or early summer, when the plant is actively growing. The cut-off top portion can be rooted by allowing it to callus and placing it in a warm spot in pure pumice.
Pachypodiums naturally lose their leaves during the winter, so don’t be surprised if your plant looks like a palm in the summer and a cactus in the winter (we love that about these plants!). When you see your pachypodium beginning to drop leaves in the fall, it might be time to cut back on the watering for the winter; if it starts to drop leaves in the summer, it’s possible that you’ve greatly underwatered and the plant would appreciate a drink.
Pachypodiums thrive indoors in a warm sunny room. If the room is sunny during the winter, your pachypodium may skip its dormancy period entirely and keeps its leaves all year round.
This plant can grow outdoors in a sheltered spot in the Bay Area, especially in pots where the drainage can be controlled. Add 50% pumice to 50% cactus mix to make growing this plant more forgiving.
In nature this plant will grow upto around ten feet, but we have never seen a plant this tall in cultivation and even very old plants in the ground in Southern California are only a few feet tall.

Special Interest

While they are rare to bloom, P. namaquanum has an unusual plum purple tubular flower that is quite unique in the genus.

The common name ‘half man’ comes from the indigenous people of Namibia, who note that these succulent plants look like a person from a distance.

More Info

The inspiring photos of this plant in habitat were taken by our staff member Tyson Curtis on a trip to Namibia.