A year in the life of a cirio

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Here's a pair of pictures I found interesting. First off, this is the plant I potted up one year ago. Fouquieria (ex-Idria) columnaris, known here as the cirio. That's a 5" pot.

This message was edited May 6, 2011 9:47 PM

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Shortly after the cirio went dormant last year, the pot fell over and the plant went through a forced bare-rooting. Ouch, bad timing. Then we had some monsoon type rains in December, and the plant has responded with new growth. This is what it looks like today. Not noticeably taller, but fatter and branchier. The red tips are new this season. There's only one new branch at the head of the plant (pointed directly at the camera, about as long as the others). The remaining branches either elongated from the tips or (in a few cases) died back and resprouted from the base. It's quickly becoming a mess in there.

I think it'll need repotting next season. The plant grows in full sun for most of the day, with weekly water when in leaf (it's thirsty). Otherwise I water it every 2-3 weeks over the summer.

This message was edited May 6, 2011 12:30 PM

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Yardley, PA

That is some excellent growth. I love the bark on the truck, too.

Decatur, GA

Very nice plant Baja. I really like plants that look like miniature trees. The bark and color are particularly nice. I might put this one on my 'keep an eye open for' list.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

The "bark" is kind of like what you see on an ocotillo... pretty sure the stem is photosynthetic. I was just looking at pictures of cirios from near here and when they're really growing, the tip has no bark at all, it's just pale shiny green. The one in this picture (April photo) was growing in the desert. These plants grow to 30 feet tall in nature.

Helen, you'll see this plant out there in various places in various sizes. The cirio is a sun-loving winter grower. It seems to be pretty hassle-free as long as you give it good exposure and water less during summer dormancy. I don't know how much that matters, but that's what I was told. I think it benefits from our mild climate and especially the wet winters, but it does tolerate serious heat too.

The cirio is not a "pretty" plant once it gets past the juvenile stage, because all those branches get messy and tangled up. Some people prune them, maybe partly with the goal of a stout trunk. A cirio can be turned into a bonsai project. But I don't see the point of doing that, personally, because I like the way the plant grows on its own, and it obviously needs no pruning to grow stout.

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Here's a young 'un in the desert, maybe 6 feet tall, just for perspective.

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Decatur, GA

Baja, I love the one on the desert. The conical trunk is fascinating. It might not be a good choice for my Georgia situation. Cold wet winters... blah. Its hard to get enough light in the house in the winter for 'winter growers'. But a little one might be fun to try and see what happens. This plant is definitely on my radar screen now. ^_^

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

a good one for the tree hugger in you hahahaha

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