Semi evergreen succulent native to Madagascar; to the genus alluaudia belong 4-5 species, some of which, in the wild, reach the 10-12 m of height, in pot they keep within much more modest dimensions. They have erect stems, fleshy, of silvery grey colour, much ramified; with the age, in the lower part, they tend to become woody; the stems carry several rigid thorns, among which come out small ovate leaves, of a bright green colour, waxy and glossy, which often fall in the cold season.
In summer it produces an elongated inflorescence on the tops of the branches, built from yellow or orange flowers. These succulents are dioecious, therefore there are female and male specimens.
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The plant needs very bright and sunny locations; it can bear short, not very intense frosts, but it is best to keep the plant at temperatures above 10°C even in winter, therefore it is to be sheltered in the house or in a temperate greenhouse.
From March to October, water sporadically, letting the soil dry very well between one watering and the other, the alluaudia bear without problems drought, the moist soil promotes the onset of rottenness and disease. In winter, reduce the watering, until almost to suspend them, watering once a month or so. During the vegetative period, provide fertiliser for succulent plants mixed with the water of the watering every 15-20 days.
Cultivate these plants in a rich, deep and very well drained soil, formed by peat mixed with sand and perlite; seen the quite vigorous growth, the alluaudia should be repotted every 2-3 years.
The multiplication may take place by seed, in autumn, keeping the seedbed in a temperate place; usually the alluaudia propagate by cutting, in spring or in autumn, allowing the cuttings to dry up for some days before rooting them in a mixture of sand and peat in equal parts, which is to be kept quite humid for some weeks.
Alluaudia: Pests and diseases
Too cold a climate or too much irrigation can favour the development of root rot.