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Chaparral (Larrea tridentata), potted plant, organic


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 11,700 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.  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.
Potted Plant, Certified Organically Grown

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  1. Question

    Diane Burnett

    When is the best time to plant creosote bush. I am in Arizona at 3500 ft elevation. My concern is planting in October with winter is coming on. We do get down into the 20’s at night through the spring, but up into the 50’s during the day. Soil here is high desert: sandy and alkaline. No native creosote here but this geology is just like the Verde Valley of Arizona (Sedona, Cottonwood area) so I believe they will do well.
    Would it be best to keep in pot in the greenhouse through winter and plant in late spring past the last frost? Thanks!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Diane, Just like you said, the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) needs to be planted in a pot and sized up for a couple of years before planting to the permanent location in the spring. These are fairly slow growers. You can plant the seeds anytime in the greenhouse. A 14-year-old plant finally seeded in my greenhouse this year. little cottonballs. richo

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