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Alluaudia procera (Madagascar Ocotillo)

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Scientific Name

Alluaudia procera (Drake) Drake

Common Names

Madagascan Ocotillo, Madagascar Ocotillo, African Ocotillo

Synonyms

Didierea procera (basionym)

Scientific Classification

Family: Didiereaceae
Subfamily: Didiereoideae
Genus: Alluaudia

Description

Alluaudia procera is an unusual, spiny, succulent shrub, up to 50 feet (15 m) tall, with paired, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, rounded, succulent leaves and grey spines that sprout up along the mostly unbranched and mostly upright, stout, whitish-gray stems. The leaves and spines alternate along longitudinal lines, which near the tips, have shallow channels between the lines. On older stems the channels spread flat so the lines of leaves and spines are more widely spaced. The tiny flowers are male or female, greenish-yellow and appear in open thyrses at the tips of the branches.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Alluaudias need full sun or high interior lighting with a very well drained soil mix and freely circulating air. The best way to water this succulents is to completely soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before you water again. If fertilizer is used, it should be diluted to 1/4 the recommended rate on the label.

Alluaudias must be protected in the greenhouse over the winter but established plants should tolerate temperatures as low as 32 °F (0 °C). During the winter months, the plants will drop all of their leaves and no water should be given during this period.

If planted in the landscape, however, it will often drop all its leaves when it decides to take a rest. When this happens, cut down on the watering until the leaves start to appear again.

Alluaudias are propagated from cuttings taken in the spring or from seed when available.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Alluaudia.

Origin

Alluaudia procera is native to the southern and southwestern Madagascar.

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