Euphorbia is a beautiful succulent plant. Today we will be showing you how you can grow and care for Euphorbia. We will also be learning how to choose the best variety of Euphorbia plants to grow in your region.
What is Euphorbia?
Euphorbia is known to have more than 2,000 species. Out of the total, nearly about 1,300 come under the category of succulents.
Some of these plant species come in bizarre shapes. These plants have wide, fleshy leaves. Also, some of these plants look just like cacti. Euphorbias are strong and robust in temperate climates.
Generally, these plants are grown for their foliage and amazing shapes. But very few varieties are known for their flowers. Most Euphorbias bloom in summer or spring. These plants go dormant during the winter.
Euphorbias are very easy to grow and care for. You can grow these beautiful plants in your garden. Also, you can also keep them as houseplants.
These plants require very little care. With time they become self-sufficient. As a matter of fact, too much care and watering can kill these plants.
Once you choose a euphorbia variety, you can easily grow these beautiful plants from cuttings. You just have to provide them adequate water and ensure proper soil ventilation.
We are now going to discuss the different steps involved in choosing, growing and caring for Euphorbias one by one.
Step 1) How to Choose a Variety?
1) Choose silver-leafed euphorbia for better drainage.
Silver-leaved euphorbias love sunny environments. Also, this species of euphorbias are low growing. Drainage is not a problem with this type of euphorbias. And the best thing is that they can grow well in lower quality soil.
- Euphorbia myrsinites comprises of spidery arms. This plant produces yellow top knot flowers in the spring.
- Euphorbia rigida, as the name suggests is always erect and has sharp leaves. Flowers of this plant grow in a spiral shape. These plants are almost metallic in color. However, these plants are more susceptible to pest infestation.
2) Select variegated euphorbias if your surrounding has lots of light.
Variegated euphorbias grow best in dark soil. Therefore bright and sunny places are for this type of plant. These plants may not make through harsh and very cold winter. In comparison to other euphorbias, variegated euphorbias have a shorter life span.
the brightest variety among the euphorbias is the “Tasmanian tiger”. The flowers of this plant are gray-green and creamy in color. At first, this variety was grown in Tasmania, but it’s often grown in North Canada, North America, and Great Britain.
3) If you live in a hot environment go for Mediterranean euphorbia.
Mediterranean varieties mainly euphorbia characias are excellent winter plants for well-drained, sunny areas. You just have to protect them from frost storms. Mediterranean euphorbias are billowing, tall plants. They produce bright yellow flowers in the spring.
In comparison to other varieties, Woodland euphorbias grow best in darker environments. Still, You have to provide them some sunlight to grow. These euphorbias are stockier. Also, they have grey-green foliage.
Step 2) Growing Euphorbia
1) Preparing the Soil
Euphorbia plants thrive in well-draining soil. Well-drained soil helps the air to circulate around the roots. Also, These plants will rot if you leave them in wet and damp soil for longer durations.
You can easily buy soil specifically for succulents from nurseries or from online stores. Preparing the soil by yourself is not that difficult.
Add two parts of soil, one part peat perlite, one part clean sand, and one part peat moss in a pot having a drainage hole at the bottom. This is the best soil mixture for growing Euphorbia plants.
The shelf life of Euphorbia seeds is limited. Therefore they are hardly available in commercial markets. Instead, it is best to purchase euphorbia plants from a local nursery during the summer and spring months.
- In order to propagate new euphorbia plants, cut off the newest shoots from the plant. You can easily recognize new shoots from their bright green color.
- Use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to make a clean cut. Rinse off the milky sap completely with cold water.
- Let the shoots dry overnight.
Note- Always Wear gloves whenever cutting the euphorbia plants. The sap is toxic and also a skin irritant.
- After the shoots (cuttings) dry for a night, dip the end of the shoots (cuttings) in ground charcoal. This will help to seal the cut and. Although this process is not necessary.
- Now with the help of a pencil or stick, Make holes in the pot to insert the shoots.
- Push the shoots (cuttings) of euphorbia into the edge of the pot. Edges of the pot are more moist as compared to the center of the pot. Therefore planting shoots on edges will prevent the plants from drying out.
- Euphorbia loves sunlight but at the same time, it is necessary to keep the soil moist. Therefore place the pot at a location that receives proper bright light but is not under direct sunlight.
- Now, let the shoots (cuttings) root for 14 to 21 days.
- Once the plant has rooted, you can re-pot the plants in larger pots. You can also plant it outdoors in moderate climates. Euphorbias love full sunlight but if you place them partial shades, no harm will come.
Step 3) Caring for Euphorbia
Euphorbias need regular pruning, especially after flowering. When the flowering begins, cut back the stems present at the base of the plant back euphorbia stems at the base. If you see any damaged stems, trim them. This will help to keep the plant healthy and tidy.
In autumn, cut the euphorbia plant to the ground. This is to avoid frost from killing it. Don’t worry, your euphorbias will grow back in the spring season.
Watering regularly will help to keep your plant healthy. During the summer or during warmer days, water once a week or whenever the soil is dry a few inches under the soil surface. Water deeply, but don’t let the plant sit in wet soil. This may lead to root rot.
During warm weather, water your Euphorbia plant in the evening. This is because in the evening less water will evaporate. Also, plants tend to take up more water when the temperature is cool. During winter, water your plants early morning to get the same benefits.
Do not overwater your plants. Overwatering may cause the roots to rot. Signs of root rot are drooping of flowers or a soft, brown plant neck. Immediately remove the affected parts to save the plant from root rot. Regulate the supply of water as the plant heals.
Most varieties of euphorbia do not require to be watered daily.
Destroy the plants in late stages of root rot. If the browning is visible in most of your euphorbia, dispose of the plant and just grow a new one.
The most common fungal disease affecting the succulents is the mildew. It appears on the plant as a powdery white film. If your plant doesn’t receive proper ventilation and sunlight, the damp and moist conditions can lead to the growth of mildew.
Use fungicides marketed for ornamental plants and roses. Using a general-purpose fungicide can harm the plant.
Immediately Isolate infected euphorbia from the rest of the plants. This is necessary to avoid the spread of mildew to other plants.
To get rid of spider mites or mealybugs, take 70% isopropyl alcohol and fill it in a spray bottle. Now, directly spray the alcohol on the pests. Check for pests every day. If you see any pests, again spray the alcohol to kill them completely.
Isopropyl alcohol is toxic. Therefore keep the spray bottle away from the reach of pets and children. If possible, mark it with a danger sign.