Euphorbia atropurpurea Brouss. ex Willd.
Tabaiba Majorera and Tabaiba Roja in Spanish
Euphorbia atropurpurea var. atropurpurea, Kanopikon atropurpureum, Tithymalus atropurpureus
Euphorbia atropurpurea is an attractive dichotomous branching shrub with large bluish-green leaves arranged in a rosette at the end of the brown branches. It grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. Branches are spinless, succulent, marked with leaf scars, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. Leaves are lance-shaped, oblong, or spoon-shaped, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wide.
The flowers are intense burgundy-red bracts held on stiff radiating stems and usually appear from winter to spring. Fruits are 3-locular red capsules with dark brown seeds, one per locule.
Euphorbia atropurpurea is native Canary Islands. It grows in ravines and on slopes and terraces at elevations that range from 980 to 3,940 feet (300 to 1,200 m) in the southern and western parts of the island of Tenerife.
USDA hardiness zones 11a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Euphorbias are very easy to care for. These plants require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. More die from too much care and watering than from neglect. Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH but cannot tolerate wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don't let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed them with a half-strength fertilizer monthly.
These succulents can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). They are usually propagated by cuttings. This can be tricky because of the exuding sap. Rooting hormone is recommended with Euphorbias. They tend to grow problem-free, but there are a few pests and diseases to be alert for.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
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