Question I bought ocotillo seeds and don't know how to start them. I just recently visited a relative in Yucca,Az and noticed these beautiful plants, it seems like they are all over and everywhere I look. They are beautiful. My sister said she notices that they grow from seeds after the monsoons. I have a starter seed bin and a grow mat. Thanks for your help.
Answer Hi Nellen,
Thanx for your question. You can plant the fresh ocotillo seed 1 inch deep in pots and expose to hot temperatures. They germinate best above 85º with cooler temps at night down to 70º. Water but do not soak the pot. The soil should be damp but not soggy and should drain well, otherwise the seed will rot. The germination should occur sporadically from 1-3 weeks. I would start them in pots outdoors as soon as you have consistently hot temperatures. After they germinate, limit watering to a meager sprinkling, just enough to dampen the soil every 10-14 days. When the seedlings are 4 inches high, you can transplant them to a permanent bed in full sun, no shade. They are hardy from USDA zones 8-11. I used to live in the Phoenix area and these plants will tolerate frost in the winter and temperatures down to about 25º as long as the cold temperatures are not enduring. They don't mind cool winters from 40º-60º as long as they are not exposed to consistently frigid temps and winds. Good luck!
I have been growing plants from seeds for at least 20 years. I have grown literally hundreds of different kinds of vegetables, trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, tropicals, some cacti, water plants, iris, rose, lilies, cannas, etc. I enjoy starting from seed.
I've been growing my own seeds for 20 years with indoor propagation equipment I built myself. I am also an Allexperts volunteer on the perennial forum. I have completed the Master Gardener course through the Kansas State University Extension. I have experience with a wide variety of seeds and I have also read through Norm Deno's books on seed germination.