Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia Milii)

One plant I have truly grown to love is the Crown of Thorns.  The beautiful flowers that are produced from unique spiny stems make then an interesting choice for a sunny window in your home.  There are a few different varieties available, although you may have to spend some time looking for ones that are out of the ordinary.

Many garden centres offer the small red flowering variety of this plant... until a few years ago, I thought this was the only variety; as it was all I ever saw.  After poking around at a few too many greenhouses. (I'm not sure that's even possible) I discovered how misinformed I was!  There are some very beautiful variations available.  If you see one out of the ordinary... pick it up!

Related to the Poinsettia, although looking nothing like it, the crown of thorns blooms frequently, throughout the year.  I have seen red, white, pink, green, as well as mottled blooms.

The leaves of the Crown of Thorns are found on the new growth, normally at the end of the spiny branches.  The leaves are oblong and dark green, although I have seen variegated foliage as well.   Inside the branches is a white sap, that is toxic, and should be handled with care.  The spines definitely help to keep pets away from this plant.  Although it is considered toxic, I do have pets, and have never had issues.

Originating in Madagascar, this plant prefers full sun (south facing window if possible) and temperatures between 60-75 degrees f.  Water the plant well, and then allow the top of the soil to dry out, before watering again.

This plant acts like a succulent and should require less water than that of your other houseplants.   I water mine every two weeks at this time of the year, and slightly more frequently in its active growing season (Late Spring - Fall) Fertilize with Cactus fertilizer diluted at 1/2 strength bi-weekly during the growing season.

This plant will only need to be re-potted every couple of years.  When this is done, only go one size larger than the pot it is currently in.  Use a cactus potting mix to ensure success, and don't forget your gloves!

This plant can reach (depending on variety) anywhere from 2-4 feet in height, although they can be kept smaller.

Try something different... Get thorny for this plant!
All photographs on this blog by Paul Gellatly


  1. I started with a red crown of thorns, but when I found out there were other colors and shades, I ordered five on line. That was a couple of weeks ago. Now I just found another place on line and I ordered another 5 in different colors. I'm beginning to worry about having too many! I just love them. I would be happy if my garden only had these plants, there are so many choices. The last couple of years I've been crazy about hibiscus, but unfortunately, I spent a lot of money on them, only one didn't die. I think crown of thorns are going to be more successful. I don't mind if some of them die, as long as some don't. I just love them.

    1. Euphorbia is a hot weather plant and does not like wet or cold weathers. I have many varieties and they are beautiful!! I love them! They are also easy to care for as they are not as demanding as others. Dont have to water often, dont have to feed often..if you live in a cold place bring it in during the winter and put it in a sunny place and it will flower for you! I put one into the ground in zone 10 and it just took off!! Truly delightful plant. Has plenty of thorns!