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Ocotillo

Fouqieria splendens

Jacob's Staff, Coachwhip, Vine Cactus

About This Plant

Full scorching sun. Spiny, woody stems are ocotillo’s most recognizable feature; leaves only appear briefly, after summer rains. Ocotillo is a not a cactus or a succulent but a very large, very spiny shrub with unbranched stems and showy red tubeflowers in spring. Hummingbirds are attracted to the blooms. Even unrooted pieces of ocotillo will typically sprout leaves when watered. West Texas aficionados are invariably attracted to try their hand at growing ocotillo here at home, despite the problems of humidity and (comparatively) frequent rainfall in south-central Texas. Excellent drainage and full-sun exposure will help produce a better-looking plant; avoid heavy clay soils.

Origins: Chihuahuan Desert

Maintenance

Occasional grooming or removal of deadwood.

A signature West Texas plant, pole-like and spiny.

Min. Height: 3'

Max Height: 6 feet'

Min. Width: 4'

Max Width: 8 feet'

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