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per 10 seeds
Ocotillo / Coachwhip
Origin: Southwestern United States
Minimum temperature: -15 degC
Description: The Ocotillo is a very particular plant from the Southwestern desert areas in the United States. In nature, the long spiny stems can reach heights up to 10 meters, but will not get higher than 3 or 4 meters when grown in a pot. For a large part of the year, the woody stems look barren. However, the plant will grow leaves within a few days after it has rained. The leaves will stay on the plant, as long as the soil is sufficiently moist. If the weather gets dryer, the leaves will fall off, and the plant waits for new rains. This transition can happen a few times per year. The veins of the first leaves that fall of stay on the plant and form sharp spines, in order to protect the following leaves. The red flowers appear after the leaves, and grow in bunches at the end of the stems. In nature, the Ocotillo is pollinated by hummingbirds and bees, and are a striking appearance in dry desert regions. The spiny stems are traditionally used to build fences, to use as a walking stick, or even as torches by native Americans.
The Ocotillo is winter hardy until minimum -15 degC, and can best be grown in a large pot in a warm and sunny place. The soil should preferably be sandy.
Sow superficially in a mixture of sand (2/3) and potting soil (1/3). Let the seeds germinate with a lot of light, at 25-30 degC, and a constantly humid soil. Germination after a few weeks.
Sowing time: All year round