Euphorbia clandestina Jacq.
Ostrich Neck, Volstruisnek (Afrikaans)
This species is native to South Africa (from Swellendam in the west to Uniondale in the east), where it is usually found growing on rocky hills among low shrubs.
Euphorbia clandestina is a succulent plant with erect green stems with stout conical tubercles arranged in spiraling rows and an apical tuft of linear leaves. It is usually a single-stemmed plant but can grow multi-stemmed over time. The stems are up to 32 inches (80 cm) tall and 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Winter can turn an attractive reddish to purple hue to the stems. Leaves are up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and about 0.15 inches (0.4 cm) wide. They are green to turquoise-colored, strongly keeled, and minutely hairy. The solitary cyathia are pale yellow and closely surrounded by several bracts.
The specific epithet "clandestina (klan-des-TY-nuh)" is the feminine form of the Latin adjective "clandestinus," meaning "clandestine, secret, concealed," and refers to the sessile cyathia that are hidden by the leaves.
How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia clandestina
Light: This succulent is a sun lover. Place your indoor E. clandestina in a sunny window. From spring to fall, you may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden. Increase sun exposure gradually to prevent sunburn.
Soil: E. clandestina requires well-drained soil. Use a commercial mixture formulated for succulents, or make your own potting mix.
Hardiness: High summer temperatures are not a problem, but low winter temperatures can damage or kill your plant. E. clandestina can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.
Watering: From spring to fall, water when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry. Reduce watering in winter. Give it just enough water to prevent wilting. The best time of the day to water your E. clandestina in the warm season is the evening.
Fertilizing: Plants in a pot need regular feeding. Apply a balanced fertilizer in a 10-10-10 NPK formulation, diluted to 1/4 strength once a week during the growing season.
Repotting: E. clandestina will benefit from repotting, but it does not need to be repotted every year. When your plant is outgrowing its pot, it is time to repot it in a larger pot and give it a fresh potting mix. The repotting is best done in early spring, at the beginning of the growing season. Wear gloves, protective clothing, and appropriate eye protection when repotting this succulent.
Propagation: The easiest and fastest method of propagation for this plant is by using cuttings. It can also be grown from seeds, but it can be difficult to germinate. The best time to take cuttings is in spring or summer. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Toxicity of Euphorbia clandestina
E. clandestina produces a white milky sap that is toxic and can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. It is best to keep your plant away from children and pets.
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