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Care of the plant Euphorbia tithymaloides or Devil's Backbone.

Care of the plant Euphorbia tithymaloides or Devil's Backbone

The genus Euphorbia, family Euphorbiaceae, includes some 7,000 species of cactiform succulents, herbaceous plants and shrubs distributed on all continents. Some species are: Euphorbia tithymaloides, Euphorbia pulcherrima, Euphorbia milii, Euphorbia mammillaris, Euphorbia leucocephala, Euphorbia lactea, Euphorbia ingens, Euphorbia inermis, Euphorbia horrida, Euphorbia heptagona, Euphorbia handiensis, Euphorbia grandicornis, Euphorbia flanaganii, Euphorbia enterophora, Euphorbia enopla, Euphorbia echinus, Euphorbia cotinifolia, Euphorbia coerulescens, Euphorbia characias, Euphorbia candelabrum, Euphorbia canariensis, Euphorbia resinifera, Euphorbia regis-jubae, Euphorbia royleana, Euphorbia trigona, Euphorbia bivonae, Euphorbia rigida, Euphorbia handiensis, Euphorbia balsamifera.

Common names: Devil's Backbone, Foot Plant, Ribbon Cactus, Christmas Candle, Aperejo, Myrtle-leaved Foot-plant, Tuturutu, Pinipini, Zig-Zag Plant, Slipper Spurge, Slipper Plant, Slipper Flower, Redbird Flower, Redbird Cactus, Red Slipper Spurge, Padus-Leaved Clipper Plant, Myrtle-Leaved Spurge, Milk-Hedge, Jewbush, Jew's Slipper, Japanese Poinsettia, Jacob's Ladder, Fiddle Flower, Buck-thorn. Scientific synonym: Pedilanthus tithymaloides. This species is native to tropical regions of the American continent.

They are bushy succulent plants that reach 2-3 meters in height. The fleshy green stalks grow in a zigzag pattern. The alternate, oval leaves are green with white, pink or reddish spots. The small flowers are wrapped in showy red bracts. They bloom in summer but do not usually bloom indoors.

They are used as indoor and greenhouse plants. In tropical and subtropical regions they are used as isolated specimens and in shrub groups.

Euphorbia tithymaloides prefers a semi-shade exposure avoiding direct sun during the hottest hours of the day. They do not resist temperatures below 13 ºC.

The soil can be normal, well-drained garden soil with coarse sand and containing abundant organic matter.

Water regularly from spring to fall waiting for the substrate to dry. Water occasionally in winter. If the summer is very hot, the leaves should be sprayed periodically with lime-free water.

Fertilize with a little compost or manure in early spring.

They do not usually need pruning; If you prune a branch, be careful with the irritating latex they produce.

They can be attacked by Powdery mildew in winter if the humidity is too high.

They are propagated by cuttings in spring, summer or fall; clean the irritating latex with a damp cloth and plant in a slightly damp sandy substrate at 20-22ºC.

Images of the plant Euphorbia tithymaloides or Devil's Backbone

Euphorbia tithymaloides
Euphorbia tithymaloides
Euphorbia tithymaloides