Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’

Welcome to the ultimate care guide for the Alluaudia procera, also known as the Madagascan Ocotillo. If you’re new to succulent care, having problems with your current plants, or just a succulent enthusiast, this article is for you. Let’s dive in!

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Introduction to Alluaudia procera

Natural Habitat and Alternate Names

The Alluaudia procera, commonly known as the Madagascan Ocotillo, Madagascar Ocotillo, or African Ocotillo, hails from the arid landscapes of southwestern Madagascar. This captivating succulent thrives in dry, sandy soils and can withstand harsh conditions.


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Unique Adaptations and Appearance

This extraordinary plant has developed unique adaptations to survive in its native environment. Its leaves are small and deciduous, shedding during dry periods to conserve water. The long, spiny stems store water and nutrients and are covered in sharp spines that deter animals from munching on them.


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Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ can grow up to 60 feet tall in the wild, resembling an alien cactus-like tree. It has thick stems with regular, vertical rows of robust, conical spines. The leaves are small, ovate, and bright green, with clusters of tiny, pale yellow flowers that bloom in the summer.


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Differentiating from Similar Succulents

Although it shares a common name with the North American Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), these two plants are not closely related. Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ can be distinguished by its denser, more vertical growth habit and its smaller, more abundant leaves.

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Growing Conditions and Care

Alluaudia procera is a sun-loving succulent that requires specific growing conditions and care to thrive. In this section, we will discuss the growth rate and season, light requirements and cold hardiness, as well as watering and fertilization.


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Growth Rate and Season

Alluaudia procera has a moderate growth rate and can take several years to reach maturity. The plant can grow up to 2-3 feet during the warm seasons and becomes dormant in cooler months to conserve energy and water. As mentioned earlier, the plant is deciduous, meaning it loses its leaves in the winter and goes dormant.


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Light Requirements and Cold Hardiness

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ needs at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to grow properly. It’s best to place it in a sunny location, such as a south-facing window or outdoors in a location that receives direct sunlight. Alluaudia procera is cold hardy to around 30°F (-1°C), but it’s best to protect it from frost and freezing temperatures. If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s best to bring the plant indoors during the winter months.


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Watering and Fertilization

Water Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering can cause root rot and other issues. In the summer months, water every two weeks; in winter, water monthly. It’s important to keep in mind that the plant is adapted to dry conditions and can tolerate drought well.

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Fertilizing your Alluaudia procera is also important to keep it healthy. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every six weeks during the growing season. Be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can cause damage to the plant.


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Propagation, Pruning, and Dormancy

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ is a beautiful succulent that can be propagated easily, pruned to maintain its shape and size, and goes dormant during the cooler months. In this section, we will discuss propagation techniques, pruning tips and timing, and how to identify dormant plants.


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Propagation Techniques

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ can be propagated via stem cuttings. To propagate your plant, take a stem cutting and allow it to callus over for a few days. Once the cutting has callused, plant it in well-draining soil and water sparingly until roots establish. It’s best to propagate your plant during the growing season when the plant is actively growing.

Pruning Tips and Timing

Pruning your Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ is essential to maintain its shape and size. Prune during the early spring before new growth appears. Remove dead or damaged stems, and trim back any excessively long or unruly branches. Be careful not to over-prune, as this can cause stress to the plant.

Identifying Dormant Plants

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ goes dormant during the cooler months, characterized by leaf drop and reduced growth. During this time, the plant conserves water and energy. Adjust your care routine accordingly by reducing watering and fertilization. It’s best to avoid pruning or repotting your plant during dormancy, as this can cause undue stress.

Common Problems and Pests

As with any plant, Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ may encounter some problems and pests. In this section, we will discuss some common issues you may encounter with this plant and how to address them.

Troubleshooting Alluaudia procera Issues

One of the most common problems with Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ is overwatering. Overwatering can cause root rot and other issues. To avoid this problem, make sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Another common issue is insufficient sunlight, which can lead to etiolation or stretching. To address this issue, make sure to provide your plant with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.

Handling Pests and Infestations

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ may also encounter pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. If you notice any signs of infestation, such as yellowing leaves or webbing, it’s important to take action quickly to prevent the pests from spreading. Treat with insecticidal soap or neem oil, and remove severely infested stems. It’s also a good idea to isolate the affected plant from other plants to prevent the infestation from spreading.

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Indoor Cultivation and Pet Safety

Growing Indoors

Growing Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ indoors is possible, but it requires a lot of sunlight. Place it near a south-facing window, and rotate the pot regularly to ensure even growth. Consider using supplemental grow lights if natural light is insufficient.

Toxicity to Cats, Dogs, and People

Alluaudia procera ‘Madagascan Ocotillo’ is not considered toxic to cats, dogs, or humans. However, the sharp spines can cause injuries, so keep the plant out of reach of pets and children.

Alluaudia procera, the Madagascan Ocotillo, is a fascinating and resilient succulent that can make an eye-catching addition to your collection. By providing the right growing conditions and following the care guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to successfully cultivating this unique plant. Happy growing!