Pronounciation: Al-loo-WAH-dee-uh pro-KER-a
Sunset 13, 17-24
USDA 9-11 (lower elevations of Arizona and southern California only)
Landscape Use: Textural and form accent, focal point, xeriscape gardens, patio or atrium containers.
Form & Character: Drought deciduous especially during winter months, spiny, succulent shrub, with thick, water-storing stems and leaves, stiff, sprawling to ultimately upright, imposing, wild, excellent novelty xeriscape plant.
Growth Habit: Unusual perennial succulent that for many years will grow an entanglement of stems that in time are superceeded by one of more dominant upright stems to up to 50 feet in height. With age, has an arborescent, tree-like appearance.
Foliage/texture: Pairs of ephemeral, green succulent oval to round leaves to 2 inches long, often deciduous during dry periods. An abundance of symmetrically arranged, gray stipular spines to 0.5 inch long are along stems that are gray-green to bone white in color; medium coarse texture.
Flowers & fruits: Dioecious, when reproductively mature female plants grow terminal stem clusters of yellowish to whitish-green flowers, fruits insignificant.
Seasonal color: Flowers are seen from late February through March and on rare occassions during September.
Temperature: Heat tolerant, but freeze (below 32oF) intolerant.
Light: Partial shade from western sun is best when young, full sun when mature.
Soil: Fast-draining soils are best.
Watering: Needs regular summer landscape irrigation in Phoenix, but soil must be allowed to dry in-between waterings. During winter, no supplemental water is needed.
Pruning: Minimal pruning is required so long as adequate landscape space for its asymmetrical, natural growth habit is provided.
Propagation: Easy using young, terminal vegetative stem cuttings. Difficult by seed because of dioecious growth habit.
Disease and pests: Root rot if drainage is poor.
Additional comments: Although bearing a close resemblance to the North American ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), Madagascar ocotillo is not taxonomically related. Madagascar ocotillo may be grown for many years as a container plant.