How to Grow and Care for Alluaudia


Alluaudia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Didiereaceae. There are 6 species, all endemic to Madagascar. Most occur in the southwestern subarid forest-thicket vegetation of the island.

The genus does not include many species, but it is not always easy to recognize the exact one if you do not analyze the plant closely. Several of them are grown as indoor ornamental plants. Spines are arranged around the leaves as a defense against herbivores. The development of these plants is columnar, they grow aiming high with a scarce lateral development. Plants in cultivation can, but rarely, flower with the tiny flowers in open thyrses at the tips of the branches being interesting, but not particularly attractive. Alluaudias are dioecious, so male and female plants need to be grown for them to fruit.

The genus is named after Charles Alluaud, French entomologist who also collected plants.

Growing Conditions and General Care

Alluaudias need full sun or high interior lighting with a very well drained soil mix and freely circulating air. The best way to water these succulents is to completely soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before you water again. If fertilizer is used, it should be diluted to 1/4 the recommended rate on the label.

These plants must be protected in the greenhouse over the winter. Established Alluaudias should tolerate temperatures around 32 °F (0 °C). During the winter months, the plants will drop all of their leaves and no water should be given during this period.

If planted in the landscape, however, it will often drop all its leaves when it decides to take a rest. When this happens, cut down on the watering until the leaves start to appear again.

Propagation

Alluaudias are propagated from cuttings taken in the spring or from seed when available.

Links

  • Back to genus Alluaudia
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

Alluaudia Species

Category:

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Danger:

Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jan 29, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

A very hardy and tough plant.I think the best looking of the Alluaudia's. Its only drawback is the almost bonsai like growth year to year. Mine has been potted outoors since 2004 and despite a generous repotting two years ago,only seems a bit larger. This year I will plant in ground as it has shown to be immune to anything as low as 30f. Not even a speck of damage at that temperature or a sign of rot in our bay area winter rains. Hard to find,but not especially expensive. Not sure what a big one is worth since none are around to be sold!
A silver beauty with deep green tiny leaves. Try one-or three.

On Aug 8, 2004, martina from El Cajon, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

We grow our Alluaudia in desert like climate with almost no shade - when it lost its leaves I was afraid we are losing it. Now (begin. of August) I just noticed it has its leaves back - although, being in full sun they are rather reddish - looking like little lentils. Nice little succulent (so far just a few years young), very decorative, so far also keeping its elegant straight posture (in contrast to what palmob posted from Huntington gardens). We love it. Fully recommended.

On Feb 24, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is listed by most sources as extremely tropical (zone 11 and higher) but I have had one in the ground in Thousand Oaks for 8 years (zone 9b) and it has not grown much, nor has it croaked. It is deciduous in that zone, losing its leaves most of the year. However, it grows them back and slowly gets taller. In Madagascar this striking oddity grows up to 40' tall with hardly any branches. It differs from the much more common A procera in that it hardly branches, the spines are closer together and the leaves are also closer together, darker green and smaller. It is a bizzare and fascinating looking plant- just one tall collumnar mass of spines and little succulent leaves coming right off the trunk.


Alluaudia Species, African Ocotillo, Madagascar Ocotillo

Category:

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Foliage:

This plant is fire-retardant

This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:

Height:

Spacing:

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Danger:

Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Regional

This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Mountain View Acres, California

San Diego, California(3 reports)

Gardeners' Notes:

On May 13, 2014, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I bought as small as you can buy them at a local Home store about 5 years ago. Only a few inches. At first they were kept potted..then in ground when I saw they could take the SF bay area rains and winters. Then moved again last year. After all that,no losses and the small group is growing,in leaf now in spring.
The more sun the better and may need staking up until they can hold themselves upright.
Great plants and very different for here.

On Mar 23, 2013, bjayinPS from Palm Springs, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I planted several of these striking specimens last year and they did well through the hot Palm Springs summer and temperate fall. As expected, they lost their leaves when cold weather hit in January, but they haven't yet leafed out. It is well into the 80's every day now (late March) and I would have thought they would have started by now. Does anyone have experience to share on this? Thank you.

On Jun 14, 2011, Phoolan from San Luis Obispo, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Two years ago when I bought my house in Port Isabel, TX (nearly the southmost point of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico) this 10 foot plant with many branches or "arms" was in an 18 inch pot on a sun blasted patio. Since then, it's gone through two hurricanes and two serious freezes of several nights duration. The last freeze took out about a quarter of my garden, including 30 foot trees. The Alluaudia procera looked like a skeleton--grey and dry--but leafed out in the spring, even adding a few more inches to it's height. Summer temps here are reliably in the 90's with ferocious humidity. Spring and Fall there's salty, often dusty winds. I water it about once a week in the summer, and know it's got a fire ant nest in the pot. I've never fertilized it, and would love to re-pot it, but am worried. read more about messing up a good thing even if it's in an ugly pot. Plus it would probably be painful: thorns AND ants.

On Jan 7, 2010, vatocoach from San Diego, CA wrote:

I will be transplanting this plant out of the ground. The plant is ten feet tall and I would like to know if anyone knows how deep the roots are at this size? I will be putting this in a pot as well.

On Aug 27, 2008, CactusJordi from El Cajon, CA wrote:

In the January '07 freeze my plants were severely damaged at 24F.

On Nov 29, 2007, Cactusdude from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

There seems to be some confusion as to what this plant is. Alluaudias are from Madagascar and do not grow wild in the U.S.A.
Ocotillos (Fouquieria splendens) are the southwestern natives with red flowers.
Two different families, convergent forms.

On Sep 6, 2006, cacti_guy from Frazeysburg, OH wrote:

I live in zone 6a/5b so this is a house plant. I bought it on a discount rack at a nursery sale with no info. I repotted the 3 plants in potting soil and water it every other week. From May '06 thru August '06 each of the 3 has grown from about 6" to 8" and 2 of them sprouted "branches" at the top and those branches have grown 4". I will consider a POSITIVE rating if my plant winters well. Also, if anyone can tell me how to "make" more branches and how to propogate this plant I would much appreciate it.
Thanx.

On Aug 22, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Protected in the greenhouse in Zone 9b over the winter. Commonly known as Madagascan Ocotillo

On Aug 15, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a terrific plant for those in warmer, drier areas who want something 'different' looking- maybe even a bit weird. It has some tough, sharp spines, but because of its very upright habit, is rarely a problem walking around. The leaves are succulent and bud right off the trunk. As it ages, branches appear but also grow straight up. It can grow, in it's native habitat of Madagascar, over 50' tall. However I have never seen one even half that in the US. In my area, a 9a-9b, it tends to be deciduous over winter. However, it is not normally so.


Watch the video: Madagascar Ocotillo, Alluaudia procera, The Living Desert


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