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The  Euphorbia Milii – Crown-of-thorns

Euphorbia Milii also is known as Crown of Christ, Crown of Thorns, Christ plant is a flowering plant included in the genus Euphorbia.

It is a thorny shrub, which can reach 150 cm in height.

Origin of the Euphorbia Milii.

A shrub native to Madagascar, which grows abundantly in ravines, hillsides, and terraces in the shade and in the sun, mainly.

Of ornamental use, its name makes reference to the crown of thorns that was imposed on Jesus Christ before its execution.

It can also be found in some areas of northern South America.

Euphorbia MiliiEuphorbia Milii

Characteristics of the Euphorbia Milii.

The crown of thorns or Euphorbia milii is a thorny shrub, very thorny, semi-succulent, which grows about 1 / 1.5 m in height, with an extension of around 60 cm.

It has hard, bright green leaves on thin fleshy stems, but the leaves usually fall on all but the youngest stems.

The plant sometimes stays completely without leaves.

The well-named crown of thorns is armed with blackthorns, about 13 mm, by all stems and branches.

In subtropical climates, the crown of thorns bears small yellow-green flowers surrounded by two striking bright red bracts in spring and summer.

Euphorbia Milii red flowersEuphorbia Milii

In tropical climates, it blooms in cycles after rain throughout the year.

Like the other members of the genus, Euphorbia milii, it exudes the milky sap from stems or from bruised or broken leaves.

All the plants of the Euphorbia family have a three-lobed fruit that separates when ripe, but the crown of thorns rarely fructifies if it is grown.

This species has also been hybridized with other Euphorbias, resulting in crops with larger and more striking bracts.

They present flowers gathered in small bundles and provided with stamens with bifurcated anthers.

Practically it is in flower all year, but in winter, they lose almost all the leaves.

It differs from similar species because bracts, large, 1 to 2 cm long, are fused two-thirds of their length.

The floral glands are dentate.

Euphorbia Milii pink flowersEuphorbia Milii

It is very good as an indoor plant, because it resists heating but needs a sunny place without drafts.

The Thorn of Christ needs a very sunny exposure, oriented to the south.

Care for the Thorn of Christ.

The crown of thorns is slow – growing, it feeds on soil sandy, well – drained and moderately tolerant of salt spray and salty soils.

This species tolerates numerous types of substrates as long as it does not remain moist for a long time.

Prolonged moisture rots the roots and the plant in general.

Supports perfectly the full sun, but it becomes more beautiful staying in semi-shade.

In the shade completely, it flourishes very little or nothing.

Indoors it should be in a  very bright place.

For young specimens and cuttings, it should be in clear shade.

It should grow in preferably warm climates with weak winters.

Temperatures should remain stable in a range of 20-35 ° C and never fall below 5 ° C.

The frosts are deadly, for the Euphorbia Milii.

How to water the Thorn of Christ.

Water very moderately in all seasons and especially in winter, a little more frequent and abundant during the summer.

It is well adapted to dry climates. Watering always when the substratum is completely dry.

In winter, totally or almost completely absent and with the moderately humid environment.

After flowering, water only for one month, enough to keep the root ball from drying out.

How to fertilize the Thorn of Christ.

It does not need fertilizer at all. Survive and flourish without problems with low nutrients in the substrate.

In any case, it will need some fertilizer every 15 days (from spring to the end of summer) with specific fertilizer for cactus.

Euphorbia Milii pink and white flowers
Euphorbia Milii

Diseases of the Thorn of Christ.

It is a plant very resistant to diseases and the attack of pests.

Some woodlice may appear on the underside of the leaves, but it is not usual.

The only disease of concern that may appear in the crop, is the rotting of excess moisture as mentioned previously.

Therefore the most normal are, standing fungi (the union of the stem with the earth), generally by an excess of irrigation or water combined with low temperatures.

The toxic latex present inside the stems and spines are protective shields against pests and herbivorous animals.

How to prune the Euphorbia Milii.

The Euphorbia Milii, it can be pruned, but we must do it carefully because of the thorns use gloves and garden shears.

We must make the cuts cleanly and leave between the cuts and the support stem, about 15 cm apart.

After the pruning and when the cut has dried we will apply healing paste, for the treatment of the wounds. In case if you do not have a healing paste, we can sprinkle cinnamon on the wound.

Pruning it, but if we do it with good manners.

Ohh¡¡ .. wear gloves, since the exuding latex is corrosive and irritating.

It is done in spring and is very simple from terminal cuttings or fragments of the central stem.

The oldest buds are used, they are kept from 48 to 72 hours in order to dry the cutting area (they lose the milky sap that oozes).

Then sow these later, on a suitable substrate, but that is moist.

 

Warning

As with all other varieties of Euphorbias, when a plant is damaged, it emanates a milky, white, thick sap, known as latex.

This latex is poisonous and particularly dangerous to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

It is extremely irritating to the tissues of the mucosa and capable of causing temporary blindness if it touches the eyes.

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