Out of stock
Local Native; Mojave Desert
None needed but can take shaping
Native to the Sonoran Desert, jojoba plants are a common sight in desert shrub and lower chaparral habitats. It can be found in southwest Arizona into lower southeast California, Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. It is a drought and fire-resistant evergreen shrub with thick leathery leaves that can stay low to the ground or reach heights of 10 feet, depending on where it grows. It generally grows in a rounded form to a height of 7 feet, with active growth during the summer and fall. Flowers are yellow and bloom in the late spring. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, the "goatnut" fruits only being found on female plants with male plants nearby. Leaves are medium green, and remain on the plant throughout the year. It tends to grow in rocky and sandy soils, at elevations from 0-4900 feet. It is moderately fast growing and long-lived with a life span of more than 100 years, and some living more than 200 years!
Jojoba prefers light, coarsely textured soils. Good drainage and water penetration is necessary. It tolerates salinity and poor-nutrient soils. High temperatures are tolerated by jojoba, but frost can damage or kill plants.
If using as a hedge or large shrubbery grouping, supplemental irrigation is needed even after establishment. The strongest plants will take moisture from the weaker resulting in gaps in the planting.
Common names for jojoba include deer-nut, coffee bush and quinine plant. Mule deer, jackrabbits, domestic sheep, goats and cattle all eat jojoba, and it is one of the four most important forage species for bighorn sheep. The nut is also eaten by birds, rodents, and deer.
It is currently the Sonoran Desert's second most economically valuable native plant (overshadowed only by Washingtonia filifera, California fan palms, which are used as ornamental trees).
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.