If your Zodiac sign is Scorpio (born between October 23 and November 21), we've found a houseplant that matches your powerful, passionate, and sometimes prickly personality. Water sign Scorpio is independent and fearless, blazing their own trail and standing up for their opinions in a way that seems intimidating —even dangerous! — to others. If you are a Scorpio, you don't care at all what others think at all. Boundlessly loyal to those you love, you sting anyone who gets in your way with that infamous Scorpio stinger.
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What houseplant can match those traits? Take a look at the Madagascar palm, a palm in name only. In reality, this impressive plant is a stunning succulent with glossy leaves, its thick trunk storing and guarding its resources and ready with spines to prick those who get too close.
About the Madagascar Palm
Like the Scorpio, this plant is armed and dangerous in more ways than one. But only if fingers get too close.
A palm tree? Dangerous? The Madagascar palm (Pachypodium lamerei) may look a little bit like a palm with its long (up to a foot in length) strappy leaves on a cigar-shaped trunk, but nobody who sees it is fooled for a moment. Those hooked spines on the trunk are a dead give-away! In addition, all parts of the Pachypodium contain a type of latex sap that is poisonous.
They are big plants! One Madagascar palm in any room is sure to be the focal point, just like self-assured Scorpio. The upright trunk is thick and grey and thorny, covered by dark, blue-green foliage. It too is leathery but the leaves are a lovely shape and a very attractive shade of blue-green to dark green. Scorpios can sometimes surprise those around them by romantic gestures of the heart; the plant's equivalent are clusters of yellow-throated white blossoms that appear suddenly in late spring. Each fragrant bloom is some four inches across.
How to Care for the Madagascar Palm
For those within Scorpio's immediate circle, there is no kinder, more low-maintenance friend, free with love and loyalty, and demanding little in return. The Madagascar palm is also undemanding and self-sufficient as a houseplant. These succulents prefer a sunny location but can make do with bright light. Given there country of origin, it makes sense that they like warm rooms and dislike the cold. While they'll require water in summer, irrigation in winter drops to a couple times a month.
Since Scorpios shower attention on those near and dear, denying them nothing, you may be tempted to offer this Pachypodium a new, bigger pot to grow in. But don't fret about it; this slow-growing succulent is not likely to outgrow its current pot for years. Like the Scorpio, this houseplant keeps right on growing tenaciously — and can eventually reach four feet tall, but it does so at its own rhythm. The best way to admire a Madagascar palm (as well as a Scorpio) is from a reasonable distance.
Shopping for the Madagascar Palm
Madagascar palm isn't the most common houseplant in the nation, but the fact that it's a little hard to find will inspire a Scorpio's tenaciousness. It always pays to try local stores first to get a first-hand look since Scorpios value nobody's opinion higher than their own. You might get lucky and find one or two in a garden store, even more likely if your area has a succulent specialty shop.
But in their relentless pursuit of their goals and dreams, Scorpios don't have time to waste. Which might make shopping online a more attractive option. Amazon has more than a few of these unusual succulents. We like the one from Exotic Cactus Collection. It comes in a 2-inch pot for just under $15. The same seller offers a Madagascar palm in a 4-inch container for the same price, perhaps a better deal. Or get Pachypodium seeds from them for under $7.
Etsy has even more variety with many sellers offering attractive plants. One with over 5,000 5-star reviews — Dagogard1— as a Pachypodium priced pretty high at $70. But the plant is a full 18 inches tall from soil to tip, a stature that is sure to please a Scorpio. Another high-ranked seller, 831 Succulents, offers a 4-inch bare root palm for under $14. And fans are raving about Succulent Oasis's Madagascar palm in a 5-inch pot for about $30, describing it as gorgeous and healthy. If you aren't seeing one that pleases you, keep looking. (Of course you will!) When Scorpio wants something, the search is relentless.
From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. A professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler has written about home and garden for Gardening Know How, San Francisco Chronicle, Gardening Guide and Go Banking Rates. She earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.