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Euphorbia decidua


Scientific Name

Euphorbia decidua P.R.O.Bally & L.C.Leach

Scientific Classification

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


Euphorbia decidua is a dwarf perennial succulent with a large ‘turnip-like’ woody tuberous root. Stem is usually above ground in cultivation, much reduced, merging imperceptibly with the root and forming a spherical to conical woody caudex up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall. The small central apex on the enlarged woodstock produce in spring numerous thin deciduous branchlets to form a small clump up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The branchlets are erect, green, up 8 inches (20 cm) long, 3-5 angled and up to 0.25 inch (6 mm) in diameter. The spines are widely divergent, with expanded bases. The leaves are ovate, sessile, deciduous and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. But at maturity the plant produces only a small showing of deciduous green spiny stems. Flowers are pale green with a red center.

Euphorbia decidua

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How to Grow and Care

Euphorbias are very easy to care for. They 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.

Euphorbia can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). It is 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… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.


Native to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Zaire.


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