General characteristics of the succulent plant Euphorbia tithymaloides
Euphorbia tithymaloides is a succulent shrubby plant belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae very cultivated in tropical countries of America for ornamental purposes. Sometimes it is used to form living fences that delimit the boundaries of a property. It is mainly appreciated for the arched and erect bearing of its stems as well as the bright green of its foliage; the flowers are unattractive and only appear at a small-time of the year. The most cultivated variety in outdoor gardens is the Euphorbia tithymaloides variegate. In this variety, uniform spots (sometimes scattered) of white or cream color are observed on the leaves due to the lack of chlorophyll pigments. There is also another widely cultivated variety that presents the most compact foliage and its size is much smaller; This variety is often called Euphorbia tithymaloides Nana or Nanus.
This species is characterized by forming serpentine succulent stems of +/- 1.50 meters high (the small variety generally does not exceed 50 cm high). These stems tend to branch quite a bit in the lower areas of the plant (usually); many branches will form over time, plants with very dense foliage. Euphorbia tithymaloides present inside its stems a whitish corrosive substance that accelerates the healing of wounds in the plant and repels predators (Latex).
The leaves are arranged alternately on the stems and arise directly from the end of each angle “elbow or knot”, has an elliptical shape with the sharp or slightly rounded end, have the entire margin and measure +/- 7 cm long by +/- 2.5 cm wide. The coloring of the leaves is completely dark green or with white or cream spots in the variegated variety. The leaves last a long time in the plant but with time, the basal ones will fall leaving the stems bare (a prolonged drying stage can accelerate the fall of the foliage as well).
The flowers are not flashy and arise in an inflorescence that develops at the apex of the stems during warm seasons. They characterized mainly by being surrounded by bracts long (+/- 4 cm long) of colored red or purplish-red wine.
Tips for growing succulent plant Euphorbia tithymaloides
Euphoria tithymaloides is an extremely simple plan to keep in the garden and it is even cultivated by many people without any experience in the general care of plants. Here we provide their main care:
Thanks to growing where you receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. It does not tolerate the total shadow being almost impossible to keep inside the home. To keep this plant indoors, it is necessary to locate it near a window where the sun falls (at least 5 hours a day). The forms variegated require many more hours of light because they fail to perform photosynthesis efficiently. Protect it from the intense midday sun on the hottest summer days.
It is imperative that this plant never is exposed to temperatures below 5 °C because it could die easily or, in the best case, lose all the leaves. It is also not recommended exposing it to temperatures above 40 °C because all its leaves can fall out or dehydrate quickly. The optimum range for the species is between 18-30 °C.
It grows perfectly in the universal substrate for flowering plants as long as a layer of coarse sand is added that favors drainage. This species is grateful for a substrate rich in the organic matter although it grows smoothly in nutrient-poor soils.
Frequency of watering:
Watering during the seasons warmer than 1-2 times weekly after drying the surface of the substrate. In winter, it is recommended to water once a month to avoid risks of rot.
Pests and diseases:
It is a plant quite resistant to pests but is very susceptible to fungal attacks if the relative humidity is very high and the temperatures are low. It can be affected by mealybugs (mainly cottony) and mollusks.
Very simple from cuttings 10 cm long. After cutting the cuttings it is recommended to wait a week for the cut to heal completely before planting.