JOJOBA [Simmondsia Chinensis]
THE STORY OF A LITTLE BEAN THAT MAY SOMEDAY SAVE THE BIG
WHAT IS JOJOBA?
Jojoba (ho ho’ ba) is a native desert shrub which produces beans. These beans contain up to 50% of their weight in an oil which is actually a liquid wax. Jojoba Oil is not only a direct replacement for the sperm whale oil but is also superior in many ways. If the world could produce enough of the Jojoba Beans there would never again be a need to kill the whales for their oil.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT JOJOBA Jojoba is found natively growing throughout the Sonoran Desert areas of Mexico, California. and Arizona. It takes a Jojoba plant about three years before it will flower, and thus enable you to tell male from female plants. Only the female plants will produce beans, whereas the males are useful only for pollination. Jojoba will usually end up being about 70% males; so it is important to overplant to ensure many female plants. Since wind and other factors have a lot to do with pollination, just how many male plants are needed to pollinate the females will have to be decided on an individual basis. A male plant within 10 to 15 feet of every female is what many people are currently planting.
A Jojoba plant needs to be about five years old before it will produce beans. it is known to live for at least 100 years in the wild and appears to produce more beans each year.
FACTS TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION — LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!
Jojoba is not a get-rich-quick plant. It's not even a wait-five¬years-and-get-rich plant. It has many risks and requires thought and experimentation before any sizable planting is done. Although we now know that the less water Jojoba receives in the Summer and Fall the better chance it has of surviving winter frost, it is not a guarantee that frost will not damage or kill it. Your plants may come up and look wonderful only to die in the winter cold or summer heat. If they do live, they may for some unknown reason, not ever produce beans. There also is the possibility that they will produce beans but not on a consecutive basis and will produce every other year or every third year or possibly longer. Some plants produce each year but in such small quantity that it is not worth the time or expense. These are the risks with Jojoba and the risks are high.
My advice to anyone who is thinking about planting Jojoba in any sizable quantity is to take a small amount of seed and spend one entire year and experiment on the land you intend to use. Try planting at different times of the year; use various amounts of water, .and various time periods for watering (try not watering some plants after they have been up for six weeks, others continue watering all year, etc.). After you have gone through one entire year (a hot summer and cold winter) you will be able to see which, if any, of the techniques worked best for your Jojoba in your particu¬lar area. You would then be ready to make a more rational decision whether it is worth the time and expense to plant in any large quantity. You may get lucky and find that Jojoba grows well under almost all conditions in your area, or you may find that no matter what, it just won't grow. However, in either case the one-year wait will leave you much more knowledgeable -- if not richer.
SEEDS, SEEDLINGS, OR CUTTINGS?
A direct-planted Jojoba seed has a tap root which can go as far down as 30 feet. Seedlings tend to spend their energy growing many roots which spread out and do not go as deep. Cuttings also tend to have tap roots which spread out instead of going deeper down. It is my opinion that direct seeding is the only way to plant Jojoba into the ground. Not only is it much less expensive than any other method, but it enables the plant to care for itself more as in the summer the root is deep enough to help obtain water and in the winter it is warmer the further down it goes. I have seen many seedlings die where direct seeded plants survived. This is something that you may want to experiment with in your first year.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR GROWING OUTDOORS
I recommend that you try soaking your seeds for twelve hours before planting. It seems to speed up germination. Jojoba germinates best at 80 degrees or hotter. If you dig a seed up and it has become soft and mushy you can be sure it has been overwatered. If it is still hard and has not sprouted yet, give it time and possibly a little more water. You should place the seeds about one to one and one-half inches down into the soil. Keep in mind that. in many areas squirrels and rabbits seem to enjoy the seeds. Since there are few commercially producing plantations on any continu¬ous basis at the time of this writing, everyone planting Jojoba is trying what they feel will work best and then praying. Therefore, various spacing between planting is currently being tried. Whatever spacing you decide to use keep in mind, that in the future there will probably be equipment which will do 'the harvesting and so you will want to leave enough room for equipment to get through. Currently some Jojoba plantations use a modified grape harvester machine to harvest the Jojoba.
Some people are planting three seeds to a space; others five seed to a space; and yet others are planting one seed every inch; every foot; and so on. Since it may become difficult to tell which parts of the plants go to which bushes at the time you cut out your excess males, you should take this into consideration. The first three years of growth are very slow and your plants will stay small. After that it should begin to turn into a bush. Try the various planting techniques and watering amounts and keep in mind that the less water, the better chance it has of surviving winter. Since Jojoba has such a deep root system fertilizers seem to have no effect on Jojoba planted directly into the ground.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR JOJOBA PLANTS TO BE PUT INTO A POT
Jojoba has a root system with a memory. Unlike other plants, if you put a Jojoba bean into a small container and let it sprout, you will notice that the roots will coil around and around the inside of the container. When you transplant it the coiling will not stop but will continue and eventually choke itself to death. Therefore, we use a system called Air Pruning. It is a system which allows the bottom of the tap root to be pruned by contacting air. The plant will then form many more roots on the side. In order to Air Prune your plant you will need a bottomless container (we suggest a toilet paper roll) and fill it with soil. Pack the soil down with a stick to form the bottom of the container (if the soil is slightly damp it will form a bottom and not fall out). Place the seeds inside the roll and place the roll between two sticks or bricks (or anything else handy) so that when the root comes out the bottom it will hit air and not a solid bottom or ground. In about six weeks it should be air pruned and ready to place in your pot for use in a container outside or inside your home. A Jojoba plant in a pot likes plant food, so you may want to feed it often. When watering, keep in mind that it is a native desert shrub and requires little water. Never let it sit in a dish of water as Jojoba is very susceptible to root rot. Under normal conditions your Jojoba plant in a container will probably need to be watered about every other week. A Jojoba plant in a five gallon container may eventually require watering only every few months. Each Jojoba plant seems to have a mind of its own so if your Jojoba is an indoor plant you may find that its watering requirements are different from your neighbor's indoor Jojoba plant.
JOJOBA OIL AND ITS USES
Jojoba oil is a non-greasy odorless oil which is capable of penetrating deep into the skin. Some of the potential uses for Jojoba oil are:
Scalp and Hair Conditioners
High-speed Machine Oil
Treatment of Acne
Jojoba oil in its pure form is great for:
Placing in bath water
Using under makeup
Adding to your shampoo
Helping to prevent dry skin
Applying to your scalp
Helping to prevent sunburn peeling
After shower splash
At night to help prevent wrinkles
Shaving with instead of creams or lotions
WHAT TO DO WITH THE BEANS ONCE THE PLANT IS PRODUCING
Drop us a line and let us know how many beans your plant has produced. If we are unable to purchase them from you we will try to help you locate a company which will.
If you have any questions please feel free to write or e-mail and ask us. We only ask that you enclose a self-addressed stamped enveloped with your letter.
19025 PARTHENIA STREET Dept. IN
NORTHRIDGE, CA 91324
Copyright 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987