Selecting Healthy Ocotillos

Is My Ocotillo still alive?


Star-Tip 1057

Gardening Tips for successful and beautiful Landscapes and Gardens


Perhaps a difficult plant to Select?

Choosing a live healthy Ocotillo

can be a challenge, if you donít know what to look for!


Most of the time you may not be so fortunate as to find one with foliage.

(like the one to the left).

When Ocotillos are transported to the Nursery, they naturally defoliate. These are healthy plants though it might not be visibly apparent at first.


Tip: Look at the color of the cortex (the area between the silvery bark). In this specimen the color is beige, not indicating the presence of chlorophyll.


This would be a specimen to avoid in your selection process.




Notice the green coloring in the cortex of this Ocotillo. This specimen has strong evidence of chlorophyll and hence a good sign of health.

Not really so tough is it?








Proper care for your Ocotillo


Now it will be your job to provide appropriate water (not too often, yet often enough). Drips during the first year, will more often cause mildew than help the plant. The roots are not yet established.


Because of ineffective roots, and the dry heat of desert summers, it is very often a successful practice to overhead shower-water a new Ocotillo the first year. During the extreme heat of summer you can saturate the canes twice each week. Drench these until water is streaming down the canes and collecting on the soil. Remember continued wet soil will only help mildew the roots.






What a beautiful and

Desert-hardy plant you have



when your Ocotillo has established, leafed out and flowered!










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