Chaparral (Larrea tridentata), packet of 50 seeds

$4.95

Family:  Caltrop (Zygophyllaceae)

Hardy to Zones 8 to 11, colder if kept dry.  The plant dislikes cold, wet conditions.

(Creosote Bush) Evergreen perennial bush native to the SW US and Mexico.  This is one of the longest lived plants on Earth.  A living plant has been carbon dated to 13,000 years before the present. The antimicrobial, anticancer and free radical scavenging activities of the potent anti-oxidant NDGA and other molecules found in this plant are well-known. However, this is very potent medicine and in my opinion is best to use as a low-dose botanical, and best used externally.  Repeated internal overdose can be toxic to the liver and/or kidneys.  Plant prefers full sun, well-drained, alkaline and sandy soil.  Sow seed in spring or summer, in pots containing Cactus mix. Cover seed with 1/8 inch of sand and keep warm, in the light and barely moist until germination, which occurs in 3 to 5 weeks.  The seed itself is covered by a fuzzy pericarp, which does not need to be removed.  Upon germination, the pericarp often balances on top of the seedling like a little fuzz helmet.  After the seedlings reach an inch or two, individuate to gallon pots and grow out that way for at least a year before transplanting.  The plant may be kept in pots as a bonsai in places outside its native range.  Inside its native range it is OK to transplant outdoors.  Space plants at least 3 feet apart.
50 seeds/pkt., Open Pollinated

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  1. Denise Lonewolf

    Could you detail the planting medium you used? & any other helpful suggestions. I live near Houston but there’s a spot in my yard that seems to think we are living in the desert.?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Denise,
      Chaparral is relatively easy to start from seeds. Use a standard Cactus Mix that you can buy at a nursery supply store, or make your own using 50% fast-draining ingredients (pumice/coarse sharp sand) and 50% compost. The more exacting recipe is in my book “The Medicinal Herb Grower.” Don’t overwater the seedlings, they tend to damp off.
      Richo

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    • cloud9salon

      If grown indoors can it still be used for medicinal purposes ? Thanks

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Kind of. Chaparral grown indoors takes years to make a significant amount of leaves whereas the wild plants are quite large and productive.

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    • Billy Mills

      Does it over winter well?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello, It overwinters well if you live in the chaparral belt or if you have a greenhouse. Please check the zone designations for the plant.

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    • Lando

      Hello I have transplanted a Chaparro from Texas to Kansas. Brought it’s dirt along with me in a 2 gallon vase. It’s winter here now and i’ve brought it inside how can I make sure it does not die on me. Thank you!

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Lando, Chaparro amargosa is a great plant, and actually rare and endangered, but it isn’t chaparral (Larrea tridentata) so I’m not sure what it is you have. Both plants will enjoy the native soil and need plenty of light. Kansas might be pretty cold for them, too, although the chaparral belt can get frigid at night. My chaparral does fine in an unheated greenhouse. That’s what I would recommend at this point–greenhouse it.
      Richo

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    • Emilie McVey

      I live in central Pennsylvania, so I would likely need to keep chaparral in a pot. You mentioned that an indoor-grown plant would take a long time to grow. If I can keep the plant, in a pot, outside nine months of the year, will it also grow very slowly, or will the sun make it grow faster?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Emile,
      The sun will make it grow better. When plants are put in the sun as opposed to the shade, they tend to make denser growth.
      Richo

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    • Liss

      I live in AZ in hot climate in summer. Last week was 118 degrees. Would chaparrell do well in a full West area where the sun shines or does it need shade? I want to buy the seeds but I want to plant them correctly

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Liss, Any plant needs watering and protection to get established, Once established, Chaparral is good in full sun and extreme heat. Richo

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    • Larry Mayer (verified owner)

      Do you think that Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) would grow in the semi-arid (tropical savannah) climate of Hawaii, which only receives about 8 inches of rainfall per year? It is in USDA climate zone 12b.

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Larry,
      Larrea tridentata does fine in a tropical greenhouse here–I have bushes that are decades old and quite comfortable. A low-rainfall area in the tropics seems like a good potential. This is listed to Zone 11 and generally is picky about the substrate–give sand and pumice around the crown and it probably will work in a Z 12. It takes a good hand at horticulture to grow these outside the chaparral belt.
      Richo

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    • Larry Mayer (verified owner)

      Richo,
      Thank you for your advice. I hope that the seeds will be viable. I hear that germination is sometimes tricky- would it help to put the seeds in boiling water, and allow it to cool to soften the seed coat, before planting?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Larry, The seed coat of Larrea tridentata is already soft and fuzzy–no hot water treatment needed or advised–just give standard horticultural treatment but use sand not seed mix. r

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