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Euphorbia lomelii (Slipper Plant)

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Scientific Name

Euphorbia lomelii V.W.Steinm.

Common Names

Slipper Plant

Synonyms

Pedilanthus macrocarpus, Hexadenia macrocarpa, Tithymaloides macrocarpa, Tithymalus macrocarpus

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Euphorbia lomelii, formerly known as Pedilanthus macrocarpus, is an unusual and attractive, slow-growing succulent that remains mostly leafless, or with tiny, inconspicuous leaves. It has erect, up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, lime-green stems that rise to 3 feet (90 cm) tall, sometimes taller in the shade, arching or bending outwards under their weight. The stems are tapered like a candle near the tips and covered by a waxy substance known as "candelilla", which means "little candle". The plant spreads slowly outwards with new stems emerging from below ground to form tight clumps up to 3 feet (90 cm) wide. In mid-summer into fall, the unusual, orange-red, slipper-shaped flowers appear along the stems and are often followed by reddish fruit.

Euphorbia lomelii - Slipper Plant

Photo via davesgarden.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

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. 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 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 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.

Origin

Native to Mexico.

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