Alluaudia procera (Drake) Drake
Madagascan Ocotillo, Madagascar Ocotillo, African Ocotillo
Alluaudia procera is an unusual spiny succulent shrub or small tree with paired rounded leaves and grey spines that sprout along the stout whitish-gray, mostly upright stems. It grows up to 60 feet (18 m) tall. Some stems occasionally fork off in a pendulous direction before curving back upwards. Young plants form a tangle of stems that last for several years, after which a strong central stem develops. The main stem is cylindrical, up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter, and can be free of branches for up to 33 feet (10 m). Leaves are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and deciduous in the long dry season. In cultivation, this species can, but rarely bloom with tiny male or female greenish-yellow flowers that appear in open thyrses at the tips of the branches.
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 well-drained soil mix and freely circulating air. The best way to water these succulents is to soak the soil and let it dry out before you water it again. If fertilizer is used, it should be diluted to 1/4 the recommended rate on the label.
These plants must be protected in the greenhouse over the winter. Established Alluaudias should tolerate temperatures around 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.
However, if planted in the landscape, 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.
This species is native to southern and southwestern Madagascar.
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