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Ocotillo

Ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens, is a desert Southwest native. Interesting plant with long whip-like branches or canes, covered in spines.

The Ocotillo has beautiful red flowers on the tips of it's branches in late spring to early summer, depending on the rainfall. Leaves only emerge after a good rain and they may do so several times in the summer.

When you go to buy an Ocotillo, if it is very small it may be in a container, however the most common practice is to buy them bare-root. Usually they are 'healed-in', roots covered with sand, and you take the plant home without any soil on the roots. This method works well, just plant it within a day or two. Water well when planting and then maybe once a week, depending on your soil.

You may wonder if your Ocotillo is alive or not, take one of the spines and bend it back, it should be greenish and not super dry looking. Try this out on a plant that you are sure is alive to see what a healthy one looks like.

It may take months to get over the shock of transplanting, but if it has not leafed out after several rains or several months, check to see if it is alive. Sometimes they don't survive the digging and replanting process and must be replaced.

Great as a specimen plant, mingled into the desert xeriscape or actually great as a barrier hedge. Nobody would want to try to cross through a fence made of Ocotillo!

No known diseases. Excellent plant, highly recommended!

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Ocotillo plant
Ocotillo
 
Ocotillo leaves and spines
Ocotillo, leaves and spines
   

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