How to Grow and Care for a Crown of Thorns Plant
Euphorbia miliiThe Crown of Thorns is a woody, multi-stemmed, succulent shrub that originated in Madagascar.
Dark green, tear shaped leaves appear randomly on each thorn covered branch.
When a Crown of Thorns plant becomes stressed due to over watering or under watering, humidity or temperature changes, it may quickly drop all of its leaves.
Normally, once the cause of stress is resolved, fresh foliage will quickly return to your plant.
Crown of Thorns will produce flowers nearly all year, but especially during the winter months.
The tiny flowers are insignificant but appear just above brightly colored red or yellow bracts.
A Crown of Thorns Plant in Distress"My crown of thorns has developed some problems over the past several months.
As background, I received the plant from my mom about 7 years ago (she's had it for about 20 years).
Growing Requirements for Crown of Thorns PlantsSince the downhill slide of your Crown of Thorns began about the time of your move, my first guess would be
that the heating is different in your new home resulting in drier air.
Propagating a Crown of Thorns PlantCAUTION! The white milky sap is VERY poisonous, use gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards! First of all, you need to cut any of the rotted branches back to a point where you find clean healthy growth.
If the rot started in the roots you may only be able to salvage a lot of cuttings, however if the rot is only at the branch tip, you can cut it back to healthy wood, and your plant will come back from the rootstock. It is possible to take and root cuttings from a Crown of Thorns plant but they take a little more effort and time than most cuttings.
Using a very sharp, clean knife (I like single edge razor blades) cut a branch off at the point where it meets the main trunk.
Set the cuttings aside in a cool dry place for two or three days to allow the cuts to callous over.
Once the callous has formed, dip 1-2 inches of the cut end into a rooting hormone, such as Roottone®.
Insert each cutting into a clean pot of sterile, sandy potting soil.
The pot should then put in a warm place with bright light. Do not water at all for the first 2 weeks, and then you can begin watering the cuttings very sparingly until you see signs of new growth (usually in about a month)
Rooting will be faster if the soil is kept at a constant 75° F.
I suggest that you take several cuttings to be sure that you succeed with at least one of them.
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