Euphorbia Plant Care

Did you know that the Euphorbia plants belong to the plant kingdom’s largest genera? Euphorbia plants come in a variety of shapes and sizes from flat creeping herbs to shrubs and trees and are mostly considered as outdoor plants in warmer climates. Euphorbias are also prickly succulents that resemble natural cactus, but they exude a milky, often poisonous milky sap, unlike cacti.

Euphorbia species also come in over 2,000 different types. The most exciting part is that the majority of them have a colour-changing quality! They come back year after year because some are perennials.

Euphorbia flowers provide bright yellow brightness throughout the year. Still, the leaf’s color on many can be green, variegated, or turn maroon-red with the seasons, as with the spurge Bonfire, giving your landscape year-round interest!

Want to add this to your botanical collection but don’t know how to effectively take care of it? You don’t have to worry about that! Because we’re here to guide you all throughout. Read below to find out more!

Euphorbia Plant Care Basics

Euphorbia

Before we give you the tips about taking care of these delicate Euphorbia species, take a look first at its overview.

Botanical name: Euphorbia

Another name: Spurge

Plant type: Perennial, Herbaceous, succulent

Exposure to sunlight: Full sun

Soil type: Well-drained soil

Color: Blue/Green

Water: Moderate

Favorable climate: Tropical

Preferable fertilizer: Balanced, water-soluble fertilizer

Propagation: Stem cuttings

Toxicity warning: Milky white sap is toxic

Status: Rare

Mature height: 6-36 inches

Origin: Deserts of Southern Africa and Madagascar

Now that we have introduced you to the succulent Euphorbia, we will not delay any longer! Below will be the best tips for this beauty. Enjoy reading!!

Recommended Potting mix

Succulent euphorbias are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including dry, poor soil. They do, however, require well-draining soil, especially if they are kept in pots. Euphorbia plants, like most succulents, require cactus and succulent-specific potting soil. These mixes are designed to be well-draining and somewhat make the soil moist, which helps plants prevent overwatering and root rot.

Pro tip: The optimum soil is sandy soil with a pH range of slightly acidic to neutral, though most will thrive in slightly alkaline soil as well.

Lighting Requirement

Euphorbia indoor lighting condition

These flowering plants thrive best in full sun to partial shade as native desert plants. Although these Euphorbias are sun-loving plants, they must be protected from direct sunlight, particularly during the daytime hours. The foliage will be more vibrant and colorful if it is exposed to direct sunlight. However, if more than eight hours of direct sunlight, it may burn the leaves. If you’re going to keep the plant indoors, it should be near a south- or southeast-facing window.

Pro tip: Those with deep purple or scarlet leaf plants will have a more dramatic color if planted in full light! Only a few species of Euphorbia prefer at least dappled shade. In contrast, others can survive in full sun in the north but require partial shade in the south’s dazzling sunshine.

Watering Needs

When it comes to watering Euphorbia plants, the only guideline is to not overwater them. While a newly propagated plant or a euphorbia purchased should be maintained moist until established, after it matures, water it moderately. Succulent euphorbias prefer to be completely dry before being watered again. These succulents can survive drought, but only for a short time. To make sure you can do this properly when the top layer of soil on your Euphorbia feels entirely dry to the touch, water it. Make sure also that your pot has a drainage hole so that water can easily pass through.

You should water your Euphorbias less frequently throughout the winter. Instead, give them just enough water to keep them from wilting by providing the bare minimum of moisture.

Pro tip: The optimum time to water your Euphorbias throughout the summer is in the evening. However, you can do this in the morning before the sun rises and the temps rise.

Ideal Temperature & Humidity

The majority of the genus Euphorbia can withstand high temperatures and enjoy a warm climate with average daytime temperatures of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius). The ability to withstand cold differs by species. Some can withstand a mild frost, while others struggle to thrive at temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius).

Humidity tolerance differs as well. If there is a lot of humidity, it’s crucial to have sufficient ventilation around the plants to avoid fungal illness. So, to get the most out of your plant, research what variety of Euphorbia you want to grow.

Necessary Fertilizer

plant fertilizer

Remember that each Euphorbia species has different nutritional requirements. A well-balanced fertilizer, on the other hand, will help them. Simply apply a water-soluble fertilizer with a 1-7-6 NPK percentage once a week until the plant enters its dormant period, diluted to a quarter strength.

Pro tip: A new plant’s growth can be aided by adding compost fertilizer. Then, throughout the growing season, many Euphorbia plants will do fine with light liquid fertilizer.

Propagation

There are many ways to replicate and grow Euphorbia. But Euphorbia cuttings are the quickest and easiest technique to propagate them. Leaf cuttings can also be used to successfully reproduce some Madagascar-originating species.

Here’s how you will propagate Euphorbias through stem cuttings:

Pro tip: When touching the stems, wear gloves to protect yourself from the plant’s prickly spines and the milky sap, which can hurt your skin. And summer and spring are the most acceptable times to take a cutting.

  • With a pair of garden pruners or a knife, snip an arm of the Euphorbia’s stalk.
  • The sap can be washed and cleaned out by immersing the cutting in a glass of water or spraying it away.
  • Then leave it to callus for a few days. Plant the open cut in a pot with a well-draining soil mix once it has been callused. You can also use a rooting hormone to coat the cut area before planting.
  • Rooting can take one to two weeks, or even longer in some cases. However, increasing the soil temperature to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) can help boost its growth.

Growth Zone

USDA growth zone map

The Euphorbia spp can be hardy in USDA zones 5-11. They can be evergreen in southerly zones.

Potting and Pruning

Use a porous clay pot rather than a glazed one if you wish to grow your Euphorbia indoors. This will aid in the drainage of water. On the other hand, Repotting is beneficial to Euphorbias, but it is not necessary to do it every two years. When your Euphorbia outgrows its current container, it’s time to repot it in a larger container with new soil. Early spring, at the start of the growing season, is the optimal time to repot it. Before watering the repotted plant, wait a week or two.

Some Euphorbias need to be trimmed on a regular basis to keep their size under control and prevent them from becoming out of hand. Before pruning these Euphorbia stems, a helpful reminder is that you should always use gloves, eye protection and avoid contact with the milky sap.

Euphorbia Varieties and Similar Plants

There are also a lot of varieties of Euphorbias. The spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, includes over 7,500 species and 275 genera of flowering plants found in the tropics. Don’t worry because we’ll provide some of them. 

They are:

  • Cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)Cushion spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)

Cushion Spurge is a blooming herbaceous perennial that is commonly used as a ground cover. Cushion Spurge receives its name from its completely dome-shaped habit, which resembles a cushion. The pale green foliage is crowned with chrome-yellow bracts that gleam beautifully in the garden in late spring. The leaves will turn red in the fall if they are planted correctly.

  • Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii)Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Euphorbia milii is a flowering plant native to Madagascar. Crown of thorns is a hardy perennial with thick gray thorns and oval leaves that fall off as they grow older. Yellow or deep crimson bracts are available in a variety of styles.

  • Wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides)Wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides)

Wood spurge is a hairy, evergreen perennial with reddish stems and matte dark green leaves with crimson undertones. It produces 8-inch-tall greenish-yellow bracts from mid-spring through early summer. It also creates a milky sap that, if consumed, can cause skin irritation and severe discomfort.

Euphorbia Diseases & Pests

Mealybugs, scales, spider mites, and whiteflies are the most common pests you’ll encounter when cultivating euphorbias. Because they are small and can conceal readily, these insects and pests can be challenging to get rid of and control. As a result, by the time you find a clump of them, you’ll be dealing with a full-fledged infestation. You can use an organic insecticide to get rid of bugs.

Infection with fungus or mildew can also be a concern. On particular parts of your Euphorbia, this usually appears as a gray or white powdery layer. Poor ventilation, high humidity, a lack of nutrients, and insufficient sunlight can all contribute to it. Isolate your Euphorbia and keep it apart from your other plants if this happens. Then, to get rid of the mildew infestation, apply neem oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Burkitt’s lymphoma, the most common childhood cancer in much of Africa, may be linked to the sticky sap of the African milkbush. The milkbush (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a tropical plant found in many parts of Africa and South America’s Amazon jungle.

Euphorbias are incredibly low-maintenance plants. They need a little care to get started, but once they do mature, these plants are entirely self-sufficient. In reality, over-care, particularly overwatering, kills more plants than neglect. So, all in all, they are relatively hardy and make excellent starting plants.

As a deterrent to herbivores, Euphorbia has developed a toxic sap, which will be produced if the plant is damaged. The sap can cause painful inflammation if it gets on your hands.

You can now have your Euphorbia plant here at Plantly! Yes, plus we offer faster transactions online and deliver the plant anywhere, anytime! Message us directly, and let’s get started!

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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