in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Growing Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba

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Form: A multi-stemmed, long-lived shrub.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on water.
Mature Size: 6-8' high and wide.
Flowers: Male and female flowers appear on different plants. Male flowers are tiny, greenish-yellow, and clustered. Female flowers are small, greenish, and usually solitary at leaf nodes.
Bloom: Early winter into spring, or spring into summer, depending on the local climate.
Fruit: With male plants present, an acorn-shaped, thin, fleshy capsule appears on female plants, usually containing one large, dark brown seed.
Leaves: Dull green, oval to lance-shaped, in upward-pointing pairs.
Stems: No thorns. The dense branches are rigid, and somewhat irregular.
Roots: One to several very deep taproots, which may exceed 30' deep.
Wildlife: The leaves are browsed by large mammals, especially goats. The seeds are consumed by some small mammals and large birds.
Toxic / Danger: The pollen is a mild allergen. The seed meal is toxic to some mammals. Humans find the seeds edible, but poisonous in large quantities.
Origin: Southwestern North America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-11. Flowers and terminal parts of the branches are damaged, and first year seedlings are severely damaged, below 20°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun. This plant grows leggy in shade.
Water once established: Monthly.
Soil: Well drained, pH 5.6-9.0 (acidic to highly alkaline). This plant is saline tolerant.
Prune: To shape.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Xeric garden, a hedge in very dry, hot regions. The seed contains an oily, indigestible, liquid wax.

Jojoba is one of two species in the Jojoba family (Simmondsiaceae). Another common name is Goatnut. This plant should be used more widely as a hedge in the Southwest.

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Latest update: February, 2019.

Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba - male flower Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba - female flower

Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba - seed capsule

Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba - seed

Simmondsia chinensis: Jojoba