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Euphorbia confinalis (Lebombo Euphorbia)

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Scientific Name

Euphorbia confinalis R.A.Dyer

Common Names

Lebombo Euphorbia

Synonyms

Euphorbia confinalis subsp. confinalis

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia

Description

Euphorbia confinalis is a spiny succulent tree up to 31 feet (9.5 m) tall. The trunk is simple or with several main branches, each with a crown of curved ascending branches. The branches are 3- to 5-angled, pale green to blue-green and up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. The spines are paired and up to 0.3 inch (0.8 cm) long. The flowers are small, pale yellow and appear just above the spines in groups of 3. The middle one is male and the other 2 are bisexual.

Photo via davesgarden.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °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. In fact, 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 they cannot tolerant 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 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.

Origin

Euphorbia bicompacta is native to South Africa.

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