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Ocotillo, Candlewood
Scientific Name: Fouquieria splendens Engelm.
Family: Fouquieriaceae
Ocotillo, Candlewood (Fouquieria  splendens) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 10-13, 18-20
USDA: 8-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy in Phoenix to 0F (-17C)

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Mojave and Colorado deserts, Southwestern USA, northwestern Mexico, below 5000 feet elevation (1500 m)

Growth Habits: Drought deciduous shrub, slow growing to 20 feet tall (6 m), 15 feet in spread (4.5 m); very spiny stems; light green, oval, entire leaves, up to 2 inches long (5 cm)

Watering Needs: No water once established

Propagation: Easy by cuttings, seeds

The Ocotillo is a mainstay of Phoenix desert landscaping. It is made of many spiny pole-like unbranched stems. Leaves appear when some water is present. Water infrequently to push it to bloom. The ocotillo has sharp spines, so it is better to keep it away from walking paths.

Ocotillo, Candlewood (Fouquieria  splendens)

Ocotillo, Candlewood (Fouquieria  splendens)

Cultural Practices:
The Ocotillo is available from many nurseries as bare root, it is a good idea to find out how long they have been at the nursery, because although the ocotillo is quite a tough plant, even its toughness has limits. Buying it in pot with some vegetation is a surer bet. It can be planted as such any time of the year. Care must be taken to keep the ground relatively dry. Recently planted ocotillos should be watered by spraying the canes. They can look dead for several months before sprouting leaves.

Blooming Habits:
Orange flowers, 1 inch long (2.5 cm), in clusters covering the ends of the canes.

Fruiting Habits:

Pieces of canes stuck in the ground will grow.

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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.