AZ Arboretums

Fouquieria splendens

Desert zinnia

Common:Ocotillo, Slimwood, Candlewood, Coachwhip, Flamingsword
Family: Fouquieriaceae
Sunset Zone: 10-13, 18-20
Origin: Native to Mojave and Colorado deserts east to Texas and south to Mexico
Light: Full sun
Soil: Needs excellent drainage; likes rocky soil.
Water: No water once established

Can be used as screening or hedge; groupings, especially "living fences," are more striking than single plants. Looks nice on an open lawn area. Makes focal point when blooming.

Many stiff, woody gray stems, 8-25 ft., heavily furrowed and covered with thorns. Grows slowly. After several years, may reach diameter of 10 feet. Fleshy, roundish, 1/2- 1 in. long leaves appear after rain, soon drop.

Tubular, 3/4-1 in. - long red flowers in attractive foot-long clusters after spring or summer rains; remain for several weeks before plant goes dormant. Flowers attract hummingbirds.

Cuttings stuck in ground will grow. Root easily from cuttings, either long whips or short pieces, especially in spring and early summer. Subject to rust or powdery mildew. Ocotillos are protected by the native plant laws of some states and cannot be sold or moved without a tag from the US Commission of Agriculture.