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Euphorbia milii f. lutea (Yellow Crown of Thorns)

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Scientific Name

Euphorbia milii f. lutea Leandri

Accepted Scientific Name

Euphorbia milii Des Moul.

Common Names

Yellow Crown of Thorns

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Euphorbia milii f. lutea is a climbing succulent shrub that grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. The grayish-brown stems are 5- to 7-sided, branched, up to 2 – 3 feet (60 – 90 cm) tall, with many prominent, grey spines that are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The leaves are found mainly on new growth and are obovate (wider near the tip), up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long and 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) broad. The flowers are small, variably yellow, up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) across and subtended by a pair of conspicuous petal-like bracts.

Photo via cactofili.org

Hardiness

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. A tough plant, 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.

Origin

Euphorbia milii f. lutea is a yellow-flowered form of Euphorbia milii.

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