Planting tips for Ocotillos

1. Before planting the Ocotillo:

  • Inspect the root system for any cracked or broken roots. These must be pruned to remove the damaged portion of the root. If not done, these areas may promote “root rot” and possible death of the plant.
  • Do not untie the plant yet! This will be done last.
  • Wear durable gloves to prevent injury!

2. Pull back landscaping stone in the area where the Ocotillo is to planted. Be sure to pull back the stone far enough to accommodate dirt from hole.

3. Dig a hole that will adequately accommodate the root system plus some additional depth to provide for a “well” around the base of the plant.

4. Stand the plant up in the hole and position it to the desired orientation. An additional person may be required to hold the plant in position.5. Gradually, replace the soil back into the hole, “tamping” or “packing” the soil under and around the root system. The handle end of the shovel works well for this task! Caution must be taken not to leave voids or air pockets within the root system when replacing the soil. Also, periodically check that your plant has remained at its desired orientation during the tamping process.

6. Form a shallow well around the base of the Ocotillo. The well should be approximately 4″ deep and roughly 18-30″ wide.

7. Replace any landscaping stone that was pulled away prior to digging (also covering the well).

8. Remove bindings from the Ocotillo. Gently pull the “wands” of the plant apart, freeing and untangling them from one another.  Leaving the ocotillo bound up as you often see invites the next windstorm to take your plant down.  By untieing it at this point the winds can sift through the plant with less resistance.  An additional bonus for you is the plant shows its’ elegance rather than being just an amorphous mass of wands.

Initial Care Instructions…

  • Do not flood irrigate the plant within the first 30 days of planting (rain excluded). The root system of the Ocotillo must redevelop before it may benefit from irrigation.
  • For 30 days, shower or mist the wands of the Ocotillo thoroughly without substantial accumulation of water on the ground. This will allow the plant to obtain some moisture via the wands.
  • After 30 days, fill the well twice every 2 weeks (depending on climate conditions and zone).
  • Be patient! If the Ocotillo has rooted sufficiently and is getting enough water, it will produce leaves…watering cycles may need to be altered depending on conditions.

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