Botanical Name — Alluaudia procera
Common Name — Madagascar ocotillo, False ocotillo
Plant Family — Didiereaceae
Alluaudia procera are a deciduous, succulent plant native to Madagascar. Tall spikey branches, coated in small, fleshy green leaves cause this plant to closely resemble the ocotillo plant, though these plants are unrelated and belong to different families and orders. In cooler climates these plants are temperature deciduous, losing leaves when temperatures drop below 40 ºF. In their native climate, Alluaudia procera are drought deciduous, shedding leaves when water is scarce.
- Madagascar ocotillos do best in full sun. If grown indoors place in a spot that gets direct light, ideally a south or west-facing window.
- Alluaudia plants prefer warm temperatures. They will thrive in temperatures above 60 degrees ºF.
- Alluaudia will tolerate some cold, as low as 32 ºF. In the winter place them indoors to protect them from extreme cold.
- Water plants thoroughly, full saturating the soil. Allow soil to dry out in between waterings.
- Water plants consistently during the growing season. In the colder seasons, the plant will drop its leaves. At this point, cut back on watering and resume a watering schedule when the temperatures rise consistently above 70 ºF or when leaves start to grow back.
- Alluaudia plants need a very well-drained, gritty soil. Use cactus soil or amend potting soil with pumice or sand up to 50% to improve drainage and aeration.
- Alluaudia procera will produce yellowish, white flowers in clusters at the terminal ends of branches. Flowers are borne on mature specimens, that have reached at least three meters in height.
- Flowers bloom in the summer months, though this plant rarely flowers in indoor cultivation.
- Alluaudias don’t really need fertilizer but a balanced fertilizer can be applied once a month, diluted at a quarter the recommended strength.
- Alluaudia plants can be propagated by stem cuttings taken in the spring, or from seed. This plant will also send up suckers from its roots that can be separated from the parent plant and grown independently.
- Alluaudia plants are hardy specimens and not particularly prone to pests. Keep an eye out for common pests such as mealybugs and aphids, particularly during the warmer seasons.
- Likewise, Alluaudia are not especially vulnerable to fungal or bacterial infections. Still, it is always a good idea to check your plants and prune away any unhealthy leaves or stems.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- These plants do not require a great deal of maintenance. Prune away unhealthy parts. Pruning can also be done for aesthetic reasons, to encourage branching or to achieve a desired shape.
- Alluaudia plants are known to be toxic to pets and humans. Thorns are also very sharp and can do damage if not handled with care. Keep out of reach of your pets or children.