Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata
Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata

Looking for a unique and striking addition to your plant’s collection? Look no further than the 'Ocotillo plant' - also known as Fouquieria fasciculata, a fascinating desert-dwelling caudiciform bush. It is one of the most prized "ocotillo cactus" because of its dwarf size and large, fat, swollen base. It is one of the ocotillo plants that is most similar to a geophyte. 

This unique and endangered ocotillo tree is well known for its swollen caudex, which can grow up to 23 inches in diameter. From the caudex, cylindrical woody branches can grow upward to 15 feet tall and wide. The stems of the Ocotillo plant are covered in sharp, thorny red spines that serve as a defense mechanism against herbivores. These spines also help to reduce water loss by providing shade and reducing the surface area exposed to the sun. 

These Fouquieria stems are green and leafless for most of the year, but after rainfall, they can quickly sprout small, ovate leaves.  These green stems contain chlorophyll, allowing them to carry out photosynthesis and produce energy for the plant during short periods of rain. 

During winter months, the Ocotillo plant appears dormant, with its stems appearing shriveled and lifeless. However, when the desert receives rainfall, the plant quickly comes to life. The stems absorb water, causing them to swell and become plump. It produced pale yellow or white tubular flowers that bloom in the summer at the tips of the stems, attracting pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees. 

Fouquieria fasciculata is native to the arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is frequently used as a hedge plant (for boundaries & shelter). The Ocotillo plant is not only a beautiful sight in the desert landscape but also an important part of the ecosystem, providing nectar for pollinators and shelter for small desert animals.  

Watering Needs 

The Ocotillo plant, Fouquieria fasciculata, doesn't require frequent watering.  It is well-adapted to survive in harsh desert conditions, with its ability to store water in its stems and its ability to respond quickly to rainfall. It can survive in arid desert conditions, so it's important not to overwater it. The ocotillo tree is adapted to store water in its stems, allowing it to withstand long periods of drought.  

When it comes to watering, it's best to follow a "soak and dry" method. This means watering your ocotillos deeply but infrequently. Give it a good soaking, allowing the water to penetrate the soil deeply, and then let the soil dry out before watering again. This mimics the natural rainfall patterns in its native habitat. 

Water more when your tropical ocotillo plant is producing leaves in the spring, and keep it dry when it becomes dormant (no leaves) in the winter. During dry periods, monitor the plant closely for signs of dehydration, such as wilting or shriveling of the stems. If you notice these signs, it's an indication that the plant needs water. However, after rainfall, the plant will quickly absorb water through its stems stored in its caudex, so additional watering may not be necessary. 

Light Requirements

This tropical ocotillo tree thrives in full sun and requires plenty of direct sunlight to grow and flourish. It is a sun-loving plant that is well-adapted to intense desert sunlight. In fact, it is often found growing in open, exposed areas where it can receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. 

When it comes to light requirements, Ocotillo Fouquieria fasciculata prefers at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This helps stimulate healthy growth and encourages the plant to produce vibrant red flowers. Insufficient sunlight can result in leggy, weak growth, and a lack of flowering. 

If you are growing an Ocotillo plant indoors, it is essential to place it near a bright, south-facing window or under grow lights that provide sufficient light intensity.  Just make sure to monitor the plant for any signs of sunburn, such as yellowing or browning of the leaves, and provide some shade during the hottest part of the day if necessary. 

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs 

This Fouquieria fasciculata prefers well-draining soil that mimics the sandy or gravelly conditions of its native desert habitat. A mix of sandy soil, perlite, and gravel can help create a well-draining environment for the plant. Avoid heavy clay soils that can retain too much moisture and lead to root rot. Here at Planet Desert, we have a specialty-formulated succulent potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and organic mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your succulent to thrive. 

When it comes to fertilizing, Ocotillo plants don't require heavy feeding. They are adapted to survive in nutrient-poor desert soils. However, a light application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring can help promote healthy growth and flowering.

Look for fertilizer with lower amounts of nitrogen (e.g., 5-10-5). Remember, it's important not to over-fertilize the Ocotillo tree, as excessive nutrients can lead to leggy growth or burn the roots. Always err on the side of caution and use fertilizers sparingly. 

Hardiness Zone & More 

These tropical ocotillo plants are native to desert regions and are well-adapted to hot and dry climates. It is typically hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. These zones generally have mild winters with temperatures that rarely dip below freezing. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from hot summer days exceeding 100°F to cooler winter nights dropping to around 40°F. However, they may experience some leaf drops during colder winter months. 

As for humidity, Ocotillo plants are adapted to low-humidity environments and can tolerate dry air. They are well-suited to arid or semi-arid regions where humidity levels are typically lower. However, they may struggle in areas with consistently high humidity, as this can increase the risk of fungal diseases. 

With the help of the Fouquieria fasciculata - Tropical Ocotillo plant, you'll start to spend less time maintaining your garden and more time taking in its beauty! 

Bloom Season Summer
Botanical Name Fouquieria fasciculata
Common Name Ocotillo plant
Dormancy Winter
Family Fouquieriaceae
Flower Color Pale yellow, white
Genus Fouquieria
Growth Habit Caudiciform
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size Up to 15 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide
Native Area Southwestern United States, Northern Mexico
Plant Type Semi succulent bush
Propagation By cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, heat resistant, pest resistant, deer resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialty-formulated succulent potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Toxicity Mild toxic for humans, mild toxic for pets
Watering Needs Low

Pests & Common Problems of Ocotillo Plant

The Ocotillo plant is generally hardy and resistant to pests and diseases. However, one common problem that can occur is root rot, especially in poorly drained soil. To prevent this, it is important to ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering the plant.  

Additionally, Ocotillo plants can sometimes attract aphids, which can be controlled by regularly inspecting the plant for infestations and using organic insecticidal soap if necessary.  

FAQs - Ocotillo Plant

How do you care for Fouquieria fasciculata? 

To care for the ocotillo plant (Fouquieria fasciculata), provide it with full sunlight, infrequent but deep watering, and a well-draining soil mix. Place them in a location with 6–8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Water them deeply, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, and increase watering during the hot summer months.  

Avoid heavy clay soils that retain moisture. Pruning is necessary to shape or remove dead plants. 

Are Ocotillo plants a cactus? 

Yes, you can consider Ocotillo plants as a type of cactus. While they are not technically classified as true cacti, they do share some similarities and are often grouped with cacti due to their ability to store water in their stems and their adaptation to arid environments. So, in a broader sense, you can refer to Ocotillo plants as a type of cactus. 

Is ocotillo edible? 

While ocotillo is not typically consumed as a food source, some Native American tribes have used certain parts of the plant for medicinal purposes. The flowers and seeds of the ocotillo plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, such as respiratory issues and digestive problems.  

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Ocotillo Plant - Fouquieria fasciculata

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Please note: All Landscape Ready plants that are in a 6-inch pot or larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

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Please note: Our large plants are many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive 100% healthy and looking great.

Please note: Our large plants are shipped bare root. They are also many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive healthy and looking great.

If you live in a cold climate and are expecting temperatures below 40 degrees within the next five days after placing your order, we highly recommend adding a heat pack to your order. If you do not order a heat pack, we do not send one with your order.

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**FREE HEAT PACK WITH ORDERS OVER $50 before taxes and shipping- BY REQUEST ONLY, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE ON YOUR ORDER.

To prevent plants from freezing while in transit, orders placed for areas with extreme severe freezing temperatures will be held for shipment until it is safe to ship.

Plants that are in 3.5" pots and smaller will be shipped in its pot to prevent any damage to the roots. Any plant that is 6" and larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

Depending on the species and season, you will receive a very similar plant to the one in the picture. It may or may not be blooming at the time of your purchase.

We ship via USPS Priority Mail, and we calculate the shipping cost based on the weight and volume of your purchase. Care instructions are included in every package you order. Please allow us up to 3 business days to process your order. Depending on your location, we will ship the plants on a certain day to avoid transit time during weekends or holidays. If you wish to receive your order on a specific date, or have special instructions, please add a note on your order. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at any time.

  • Description
  • Key Plant Features

Looking for a unique and striking addition to your plant’s collection? Look no further than the 'Ocotillo plant' - also known as Fouquieria fasciculata, a fascinating desert-dwelling caudiciform bush. It is one of the most prized "ocotillo cactus" because of its dwarf size and large, fat, swollen base. It is one of the ocotillo plants that is most similar to a geophyte. 

This unique and endangered ocotillo tree is well known for its swollen caudex, which can grow up to 23 inches in diameter. From the caudex, cylindrical woody branches can grow upward to 15 feet tall and wide. The stems of the Ocotillo plant are covered in sharp, thorny red spines that serve as a defense mechanism against herbivores. These spines also help to reduce water loss by providing shade and reducing the surface area exposed to the sun. 

These Fouquieria stems are green and leafless for most of the year, but after rainfall, they can quickly sprout small, ovate leaves.  These green stems contain chlorophyll, allowing them to carry out photosynthesis and produce energy for the plant during short periods of rain. 

During winter months, the Ocotillo plant appears dormant, with its stems appearing shriveled and lifeless. However, when the desert receives rainfall, the plant quickly comes to life. The stems absorb water, causing them to swell and become plump. It produced pale yellow or white tubular flowers that bloom in the summer at the tips of the stems, attracting pollinators such as hummingbirds and bees. 

Fouquieria fasciculata is native to the arid regions of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, where it is frequently used as a hedge plant (for boundaries & shelter). The Ocotillo plant is not only a beautiful sight in the desert landscape but also an important part of the ecosystem, providing nectar for pollinators and shelter for small desert animals.  

Watering Needs 

The Ocotillo plant, Fouquieria fasciculata, doesn't require frequent watering.  It is well-adapted to survive in harsh desert conditions, with its ability to store water in its stems and its ability to respond quickly to rainfall. It can survive in arid desert conditions, so it's important not to overwater it. The ocotillo tree is adapted to store water in its stems, allowing it to withstand long periods of drought.  

When it comes to watering, it's best to follow a "soak and dry" method. This means watering your ocotillos deeply but infrequently. Give it a good soaking, allowing the water to penetrate the soil deeply, and then let the soil dry out before watering again. This mimics the natural rainfall patterns in its native habitat. 

Water more when your tropical ocotillo plant is producing leaves in the spring, and keep it dry when it becomes dormant (no leaves) in the winter. During dry periods, monitor the plant closely for signs of dehydration, such as wilting or shriveling of the stems. If you notice these signs, it's an indication that the plant needs water. However, after rainfall, the plant will quickly absorb water through its stems stored in its caudex, so additional watering may not be necessary. 

Light Requirements

This tropical ocotillo tree thrives in full sun and requires plenty of direct sunlight to grow and flourish. It is a sun-loving plant that is well-adapted to intense desert sunlight. In fact, it is often found growing in open, exposed areas where it can receive maximum sunlight throughout the day. 

When it comes to light requirements, Ocotillo Fouquieria fasciculata prefers at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This helps stimulate healthy growth and encourages the plant to produce vibrant red flowers. Insufficient sunlight can result in leggy, weak growth, and a lack of flowering. 

If you are growing an Ocotillo plant indoors, it is essential to place it near a bright, south-facing window or under grow lights that provide sufficient light intensity.  Just make sure to monitor the plant for any signs of sunburn, such as yellowing or browning of the leaves, and provide some shade during the hottest part of the day if necessary. 

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs 

This Fouquieria fasciculata prefers well-draining soil that mimics the sandy or gravelly conditions of its native desert habitat. A mix of sandy soil, perlite, and gravel can help create a well-draining environment for the plant. Avoid heavy clay soils that can retain too much moisture and lead to root rot. Here at Planet Desert, we have a specialty-formulated succulent potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and organic mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your succulent to thrive. 

When it comes to fertilizing, Ocotillo plants don't require heavy feeding. They are adapted to survive in nutrient-poor desert soils. However, a light application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring can help promote healthy growth and flowering.

Look for fertilizer with lower amounts of nitrogen (e.g., 5-10-5). Remember, it's important not to over-fertilize the Ocotillo tree, as excessive nutrients can lead to leggy growth or burn the roots. Always err on the side of caution and use fertilizers sparingly. 

Hardiness Zone & More 

These tropical ocotillo plants are native to desert regions and are well-adapted to hot and dry climates. It is typically hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. These zones generally have mild winters with temperatures that rarely dip below freezing. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, from hot summer days exceeding 100°F to cooler winter nights dropping to around 40°F. However, they may experience some leaf drops during colder winter months. 

As for humidity, Ocotillo plants are adapted to low-humidity environments and can tolerate dry air. They are well-suited to arid or semi-arid regions where humidity levels are typically lower. However, they may struggle in areas with consistently high humidity, as this can increase the risk of fungal diseases. 

With the help of the Fouquieria fasciculata - Tropical Ocotillo plant, you'll start to spend less time maintaining your garden and more time taking in its beauty! 

Bloom Season Summer
Botanical Name Fouquieria fasciculata
Common Name Ocotillo plant
Dormancy Winter
Family Fouquieriaceae
Flower Color Pale yellow, white
Genus Fouquieria
Growth Habit Caudiciform
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size Up to 15 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide
Native Area Southwestern United States, Northern Mexico
Plant Type Semi succulent bush
Propagation By cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, heat resistant, pest resistant, deer resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialty-formulated succulent potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Toxicity Mild toxic for humans, mild toxic for pets
Watering Needs Low

Pests & Common Problems of Ocotillo Plant

The Ocotillo plant is generally hardy and resistant to pests and diseases. However, one common problem that can occur is root rot, especially in poorly drained soil. To prevent this, it is important to ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering the plant.  

Additionally, Ocotillo plants can sometimes attract aphids, which can be controlled by regularly inspecting the plant for infestations and using organic insecticidal soap if necessary.  

FAQs - Ocotillo Plant

How do you care for Fouquieria fasciculata? 

To care for the ocotillo plant (Fouquieria fasciculata), provide it with full sunlight, infrequent but deep watering, and a well-draining soil mix. Place them in a location with 6–8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Water them deeply, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, and increase watering during the hot summer months.  

Avoid heavy clay soils that retain moisture. Pruning is necessary to shape or remove dead plants. 

Are Ocotillo plants a cactus? 

Yes, you can consider Ocotillo plants as a type of cactus. While they are not technically classified as true cacti, they do share some similarities and are often grouped with cacti due to their ability to store water in their stems and their adaptation to arid environments. So, in a broader sense, you can refer to Ocotillo plants as a type of cactus. 

Is ocotillo edible? 

While ocotillo is not typically consumed as a food source, some Native American tribes have used certain parts of the plant for medicinal purposes. The flowers and seeds of the ocotillo plant have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, such as respiratory issues and digestive problems.  

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