When working with these plants, always wear gloves since the milky sap they release may irritate your skin.
- 1. Pick a spot with good drainage. Euphorbia thrives best where water flows downhill because it requires adequate water drainage. It works well to use elevated flower beds, drainage-holed pots, and hillsides.
- 2. In the spring, plant euphorbia. Euphorbia can be planted after the last seasonal frost or in the early spring to help the plants grow to maturity.
- 3. Use sandy, permeable soil. Euphorbia plants require potting soil made specifically for cacti and succulents, just as the majority of succulents. These mixtures are designed to drain effectively and have a tendency to be mildly acidic, which reduce overwatering and root rot, respectively.
- 4. Plant euphorbia near a lot of sunlight. Euphorbia thrive best in full sun to light shade as native desert plants. The intensity and color of the leaf will increase in direct sunlight. Over eight hours of excessive direct sunshine may burn the leaves.
- 5. Decide on a clay pot. Euphorbia should be planted in a porous clay pot rather than a glazed one if you intend to do so inside. This will make it easier for water to drain.
Where would be the ideal location to plant a Euphorbia?
In general, euphorbias need a sunny location and rich, well-drained soil. Light types, meanwhile, can tolerate some shade and do well as ground cover around shrubs and trees.
How to plant euphorbias
Dig a deep hole when planting euphorbias that have been cultivated in pots and fill it with compost or leaf mould. Euphorbia should be planted firmly, then it should be watered well and mulched to keep moisture in and weeds out.
Here, Monty Don proposes two exceptional euphorbia species and provides planting instructions. Additionally, he offers advice on how to grow euphorbias from cuttings.
How to care for euphorbias
As long as the growing environment is favorable, euphorbias don’t need feeding or special care. After the blooms have faded, blooming stems should be pruned. However, gloves must always be used when working with euphorbias because their milky sap is hazardous if consumed and irritates the skin and eyes.
How to propagate euphorbias
Euphorbias can be grown by taking springtime cuttings. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sap.
By collecting cuttings of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii in the spring, you can learn how simple and gratifying euphorbia propagation is. Monty Don offers advice on how to maintain the cuttings’ viability, plant them, and shield your hands from the irritating sap:
Some plants need to be divided or propagated every two to three years, preferably in the early fall or spring, even if they have a short lifespan.
After flowering is complete, many benefit from being severely pruned, at least by one-third. This prevents any free-seeders from taking over and promotes the growth of new, fresh foliage.
- Early in the spring, remove any damaged stems to keep the plant neat and healthy.
- As soon as the euphorbia blooms, trim the stems at the base.
- Clip carefully, since new shoots may appear that you wish to preserve.
anything touches your skin because it is a potent irritant. Additionally harmful due to the sap, spurges should be avoided.
euphorbias and yard cats survive for years without trouble, but I don’t have kids or pets.
Check individual entries as perennial euphorbias have varying hardiness, especially in regards to their northern boundaries.
for the plants that are listed here. Some species only have root hardiness further north but are evergreen in southerly zones. Other varieties do well as annuals.
Exposure: Sun or Shade?
Although some euphorbias can take some partial shade, most euphorbias prefer the sun. those with dark purple or reddish coloring
If planted in full sun, the foliage’s coloration will be more dramatic. In fact, just a few species prefer at least dappled.
Others require part shade in the South’s blazing sunshine but can tolerate intense sun in the North, where they can thrive. One option that works well in shadow is Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae.
The ability of spurges to withstand drought is one of its greatest advantages, hence proper drainage is essential.
The “Chameleon” does like more wetness than other animals. Euphorbias are also not fussy about soil, and the majority can
tackle common and sandy circumstances. Fertile soils may promote those varieties that tend to run and spread.
Keeping things lean gives control since people tend to expand beyond their limitations. However, if you want your
Can Euphorbia be planted in the ground?
All euphorbias require well-draining soil, especially the succulent forms. Although most will thrive in slightly alkaline soil as well, sandy soil with a pH between 5.0 and 7.0 that is slightly acidic to neutral is ideal. Euphorbia should be planted in a cactus/succulent potting mix when grown in containers.
How much light is required by a Euphorbia?
Have a space in your home that receives a lot of light and begs for a plant? With the right care and attention, columnar euphorbia, which are intricate, sculptural succulents, will thrive inside. Continue reading for information on growing euphorbia as indoor plants as well as other fascinating facts about this beautiful plant. So come choose your favorite euphorbia at Flora Grubb Gardens, our store in San Francisco!
Let’s first address the biggest issue in the room: euphorbia are not cactus!
Despite having a similar appearance, cactus and columnar euphorbia are separate plants. You may observe the cactus’ rigid, upright trunk and arms if you look at a Saguaro. It grows in the desert and has spikes to protect itself from predators. Then take a look at a candelabra tree, which is a kind of euphorbia and has arms that are spiky for defense. In the desert, candelabra trees can also be found. What makes a difference, then? Contrary to popular belief, there are no cacti outside of the “New World.” Surely Africa has cacti, right? True, there are no cacti in Africa.
Understanding convergent evolution, which is described as “the process by which creatures that are not closely related independently evolve identical features as a result of needing to adapt to comparable habitats or ecological niches,” is necessary to reconcile this finding. In summary, because they were compelled to evolve in the same manner and under comparable circumstances, cactus and euphorbia are almost identical. Because this is an effective method for storing water, they are columnar. Spikes are used to protect that water. Despite having a similar appearance, they are totally unrelated despite having diverged over vast distances.
How do we tell the difference, then? The key differentiator is the flowers. Cactus blossoms are enormous, delicate, and frequently vividly colored. They are frequently pollinated by birds or bats. Fly pollination is common for euphorbia blooms, which are tiny, often green, and somewhat unimpressive. Whereas at first glance the spikes appear to be similar, closer examination reveals that euphorbia has thorns while cactus has spines (a modified leaf) (a modified stem). The majority of euphorbia have a toxic latex sap to aid in their defense, which is another distinct feature.
Columnar Euphorbia thrive well indoors when planted in a cactus mix that drains quickly. Here are some tips for taking care of them at home:
Euphorbias are warm-blooded plants, therefore south or west-facing windows inside—where the plant receives four or more hours of direct sunlight daily—are ideal, though they can also grow in extremely intense indirect light. If placed within 18 inches of a window, they could burn because their skin is more sensitive than cactus. To avoid this, arrange them so that they are angled toward the window. Make sure the plant has adequate drainage and is kept as warm as you can if you are growing it in bright indirect light.
Since these plants grow throughout the summer, water should be progressively increased through late spring and into the season when they can experience dryness without becoming completely parched. This indicates that the soil does not feel damp or chalky or cracked throughout the entire container. During this time, don’t leave them to sit about completely dry; shriveling is a sign that they haven’t received enough water. Although fertilizer is typically not necessary, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer in the summer at 1/4 strength.
During the fall, water should be gradually reduced. Euphorbia naturally receive relatively little winter precipitation. They should become completely dry between waterings over the winter. Make sure to let your euphorbia stand in a saucer of water until it has completely absorbed the water because it can be difficult to rehydrate a completely dry plant (as it is like a dry sponge, where water will just run off). Until there is standing water in the saucer that isn’t being absorbed, keep adding water and letting the plant sucking it out. The surplus water can then be emptied out of the saucer or removed by placing a towel, sponge, or turkey baster within the saucer to absorb it. Never leave columnar euphorbia submerged for longer than 12 hours.
Brown spots are the most typical problem with these columnar euphorbia. They may be corking if they are light brown and hard like a scab, which is the normal process of a plant aging. Consider corking as a tree’s smooth, green bark turning woody over time. Relax, this is very normal.
However, rot is present if the brown spots are deeper and mushy. The plant needs to have the rot surgically removed since it will spread and kill it. The more likely it is that you can rescue your plant, the earlier you catch rot. Three situations are possible here:
Dig down to healthy, vigorous tissue to treat a small area of rot, then let the plant repair by developing a scab.
You must remove the top, clear the rot from the top and bottom back to healthy, lively tissue, and then re-root the top if it has ringed the column halfway up. Replant the top in extremely fast-draining soil (half pumice or lava rock and half cactus mix) and set it in a warm, sunny location out of direct sunlight after allowing it to scab over for two to three weeks. If you have it, rooting hormone is also helpful for this. For re-rooting, cement or tile flooring work well because they carry heat to the plant; but, if you have a heat mat, you can use that as well. Set it to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In this case, the top of the plant will produce a new plant, and the bottom plant will continue to develop and produce new heads. (You would also propagate the plant in this manner, typically in the late spring when it is actively growing.)
If the column’s base begins to deteriorate and spiral around it, you should discard the bottom and propagate the top. You may recall that we mentioned the plant’s latex sap is poisonous. Use gloves and avoid getting sap in your eyes while doing this because it is a serious skin and eye irritant.
Other typical issues with euphorbia planted indoors typically result from the plants being grown in chilly environments with little sunlight. Summertime underwatering of plants causes problems, but even a small amount of wintertime overwatering can be disastrous. Another typical error is to not water until the soil is completely saturated.
Euphorbia leucodendron and Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ (also known as pencil cactus), two non-columnar euphorbias with lovely forking shapes that resemble aquatic flora almost as much as possible, may both be grown indoors. These require a lot of light to develop as houseplants and can even grow in bright, direct sunlight beside a window, just like the columnar euphorbia. (Not a good option for houses with pets due to the previously mentioned toxic sap!)
These incredible plants may, of course, also be cultivated outside in a temperate region like the Bay Area, even flourishing in the foggy streets of San Francisco. These euphorbia prefer a warm, protected location with plenty of sunlight and good drainage. They enjoy being next to radiant south- or west-facing walls or fences as well as slopes where water can drain off. Since they are summer growers, they will require more water during this dry period. However, if you want to fertilize, use an all-purpose fertilizer sprayed at 1/4 strength as they are typically not hungry. They frequently fail in clay soil, partial sunlight, or areas that receive an excessive amount of winter precipitation (in addition to our natural rainfall). Clay soil can benefit from mounding.
Are euphorbias contagious?
The ideal plant for growing beneath large trees is Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae, one of the few species that grows in poor, dry soil in shadow. It grows through subterranean runners and finally forms a low carpet that smothers weeds. From spring to early summer, it produces erect spikes of lime green blooms in contrast to the dark glossy leaves. It serves as a good evergreen foil all year long for other shade-loving plants. It has received The Royal Horticultural Society’s esteemed Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Grow Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae in partially to completely shaded, well-drained soil. Trim back fading flower stems in the fall. Every spring, as part of routine border maintenance, remove undesirable seedlings.
Wear gloves whenever handling euphorbias. The creamy sap irritates the skin.