Euphorbia, cultivation and care

Euphorbia, cultivation and care

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Plants of isuforbia come from the genus Euphorbiaceae (eu-four-bi-ay'-see-ee), consisting of a rather "unusual" and numerous group of plants. In fact, there are more than 1600 species of Euphorbia plants (euphorbiacee family), and they are found in almost all regions of the world. Not all euphorbias are succulent.

Why is it called that

Not everyone knows that the name Euphorbia, or Euphorbia, commemorates Euphorbus, the Greek physician of Juba, king of Mauritania (part of modern Algeria), who reigned here from 25 BC. to 24 A.D.

Euphorbias also have one of the oldest Latin botanical names. Some are common weeds and others such as Euphorbia marginata (Snow on the mountain) and Euphorbia heterophylla (Mexican fire plant) are annuals. Still others like Euphorbia pulcherrima are shrubs or perennial trees.

Many Euphorbias resemble cacti and, precisely for this reason, bear similar names, such as Euphorbia mammillaris, Euphorbia opuntioides, Euforbia cereiformis.

Differences between euphorbias and cacti

Considering that we have just mentioned it, many are wondering what the differences are between cacti and euphorbias.

Evidently, the terms of difference are quite numerous. As regards for example the lymph milky, euphorbia have latex or milky white sap. In some species, the sap is poisonous, bitter, or burning. In others, the white sap makes a low-grade gum. In contrast, cacti rarely have milky sap, except for some Mammillaria species.

As for the spine, those of euphorbia come out from the stem, while the cacti produce thorns from areoles and along the stems. These thorns are of three types: woody, pointed, with lateral shoots along the stem; small hardened leaf-shaped appendages that form pairs of spines; woody flower stems that remain on the plant for protection purposes.

Finally, with regard to i flowers, the inflorescence of Euphorbia is rather complicated, unlike the showy and simple flowering of cacti. The inflorescence of euphorbias is called ciathium.

Read also: How to grow Jupiter's Beard

Treatment of euphorbia

The Euphorbia genus offers a wide variety and complexity of growth forms but, despite this, almost all euphorbias are incredibly easy to grow, requiring low maintenance and, for this reason, being preferred to many other gardening "alternatives" .

In particular, as with most succulents, they must have ample exposure to the sun and air, protection from frost and careful watering.

In short, despite the variety and complexity of growth forms, growing euphorbias are incredibly easy to grow, and even without special attention, these decorative plants remain attractive for several years.

Of course, they may not possess the beauty of flowering plants and their appearance is not so graceful, but their beauty lies in their practically unique shapes, as well as in dimensions that in some specimens can reach remarkable levels.

Flowering and fragrance

THE flowers of euphorbia they are often inconspicuous. The inflorescence of the Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) and of the Poinsettia seem, for example, to be part of a single flower. The fruit of Euphorbia is three-lobed, with each lobe containing a single seed, which bursts when ripe.

Light and temperature

All varieties of euphorbia need direct and bright light as much as possible. Many grow well in full sun.


To specifically take care of euphorbia, you need to water carefully and let the soil dry to the touch before watering again. Plants perform at their best in low to medium humidity conditions.

As a supplement, it is sufficient to feed the plants monthly from March to September using a liquid flowering plant food for flowering varieties and a multipurpose plant food for others.

Soil and transplant

When necessary, repot in a larger pot one size by using a succulent potting mix.


When carrying out the care and maintenance activities of the euphorbia it is good to wear gloves and be very careful, because the euphorbia "bleed”Very easily when damaged. This event not only disfigures the plant, but allows the milky sap - often caustic and poisonous - to escape and generate serious injuries if it comes into contact with the eyes, mouth or an open wound.

In mild climates, many species grow during the winter season, but humidity combined with cold can quickly introduce rot. To stimulate new growth, it will be enough to provide the plants with more water when the climate warms.


Before sticking the cuttings into potting soil, let the stem cuttings dry for a day or two. Also keep in mind that plants sometimes root slowly and that some species propagate by offset, but others, such as Euphorbia obesa, propagate from seed. Most euphorbias reproduce quickly.

Health problems

Most euphorbia plants grow without any specific pest problems. The most common pests are spider mites and scale insects. Excessive watering can lead to root rot. Plants grow in well-drained soil and on the dry side.

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