Ocotillo Cactus

Facts About the Ocotillo Cactus

The unique Ocotillo Cactus is frequently seen in parts of Mexico as well as the southwestern portions of the United States. These cacti go by a variety of different names and prove to be quite attractive as a result of their gorgeous blooms. Throughout this article we will examine everything you need to know about the Ocotillo Cactus including common names, specifics, and care.



This cactus is referred to by a variety of different names including Vine Cactus, Coachwhip, Slimwood, Candlewood, Octopus Cactus, Flaming Sword, and Jacob’s Staff. Obviously these names are incredibly unique and rather interesting in and of themselves. These cacti are frequently found within the United States anywhere from California to areas in the western area of Texas.

In terms of looks, this cactus has a crown root and from there extends numerous braches that some say look like tentacles of an octopus, hence one of the common names. This cactus can actually get as tall as thirty feet and as wide as ten feet, featuring beautiful crimson blooms. These blooms sprout throughout the spring and summer months. Appearing on the tips of the branches, the blooms actually cluster together. Obviously with the name cactus, the branches are thorny and sharp by nature. Believe it or not, this plant also grows leaves after rainfall, but they die when water becomes infrequent, making this plant truly unique.

Now lets move on to propagation. When planting anything hardiness zones need to be taken into consideration. This cactus does best in zones 8 through 11. However, in a greenhouse it can grow just about anywhere. Furthermore, they can be grown from seeds or even woodcuttings. In terms of soil, it prefers to be in a well-drained environment with a range in pH levels from mild acidic to mildly alkaline, but avoiding the extremes. Unlike most plants, watering is not required frequently in order to ensure proper growth; instead, it is actually recommended that you water it very infrequently after it matures. Be sure to plant the cacti in an area that is able to receive full sunlight for best results.

The Ocotillo Cactus produces nectar in the flavor of honey that is highly attractive to hummingbirds. These little creatures pollinate the plant as they use them for feeding when flying from one region to the other.

Due to its tendency to act as a barrier due to its spikes, this cactus is frequently planted as a fence (or hedge) to keep other people and animals out of areas they are not welcomed. Furthermore, there is not a specific time of year in which this plant must be planted making it readily available for this purpose whenever needed.

Believe it or not, unlike most plants that are drought-tolerant, this plat is not equipped with those leave and root systems; instead, it has done a remarkable job of adapting to the desert environment. One way in which they cope is by shedding the leaves when water becomes scarce, making less moisture being required to live. They are truly unique in this sense.

In conclusion, these cacti are extremely attractive in appearance and are adaptable to the desert weather. During the summer months, expect to see a beautiful addition of crimson blooms that are impossible to miss. Furthermore, this cactus produces leaves after rainfall, but allows them to die out to preserve water during periods of drought. A gardener may wish to add this plant to his or her collection not only because of the blooms, but also due to their ability to become a barrier to unwanted guests. With adequate warm weather as well as access to full sun, this plant can grow in most western states and areas throughout Mexico.