Euphorbia neriifolia L.
Common Milk Hedge, Dog's Tongue, Fleshy Spurge, Hedge Euphorbia, Holy Milk Hedge, Indian Spurge Tree, Leafed Euphorbia, Milk Bush, Milk Spurge, Oleander Spurge
Elaeophorbia neriifolia, Euphorbia edulis, Euphorbia ligularia, Euphorbia pentagona, Tithymalus edulis
Euphorbia neriifolia is a prickly succulent shrub or small tree with thick stems and large persistent leaves on the younger parts of the plant. It grows up to 20 feet (6 m) tall. Spines are greyish-brown to black and arranged such that they spiral around the stem in 5 ranks. Leaves are green, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. Flowers are bell-shaped, yellow-green, and reddish appear in groups of three, with the central one without a stalk and growing directly from the stem. E. neriifolia is one of the monoecious species, bearing male and female flowers on the same plant.
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. 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. Feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly if you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor.
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 a few pests and diseases are to be alert for.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
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