Euphorbia milii Des Moul.
Crown of Thorns, Christ Plant, Christ Thorns, Siamese Lucky Plant
Euphorbia bojeri, Euphorbia splendens, Euphorbia splendens var. bojeri
Euphorbia milii is a sprawling succulent shrub, up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, with densely spiny stems. The stems are grayish-brown, branched, up to 3 feet (90 cm) long, with sharp, grey, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long spines. Leaves are obovate, up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long, 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wide, and found mainly on new growth. Flowers are subtended by a pair of conspicuous petal-like bracts, variably red (pink, yellow, or white) and up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) across. They appear over a long season, throughout the year in tropical and sub-tropical locations, from late winter well into fall if grown indoors.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Crown of Thorns does well in even the poorest soil, provided it is well-drained and does not remain moist. It prefers a location in full sun but will tolerate some shade for a portion of the day. Crown of Thorns is a good choice for a seaside location with salt spray or soil with high salt content. If you grow your Crown of Thorns as a houseplant, place it in a south- or west-facing, uncovered window, ensuring it receives maximum sunlight. Although the plant is drought tolerant, you can induce your plant to retain its leaves and bloom frequently by watering it regularly and giving it an occasional dose of fertilizer. Check fertilizer labels and choose a basic, balanced formula without added micro-nutrients, since the plant is sensitive to boron.
This plant benefits from some light pruning as it matures. At the end of each growing season, remove some older, leafless branches to stimulate new growth in spring. Clear away dead leaves and any dropped, matted flowers to allow the soil to dry well and reduce the likelihood of fungal disease. If you notice any brown stems or leaves on your plant, cut these back to healthy tissue to prevent rot from spreading through your plant. If you grow your plant indoors and wish to move it outside in warmer weather, keep it in partial shade for a week or two until it acclimates to bright sunlight.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Euphorbia milii is native to Madagascar.
Varieties, Forms, and Cultivars
- Euphorbia milii var. roseana
- Euphorbia milii f. cristata
- Euphorbia milii f. lutea
- Euphorbia milii 'Primrose Yellow'
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
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