Euphorbia punicea Sw.
Jamaican Poinsettia, Flame of Jamaica, Vegetable Leather, Scarlet-flowered Spurge, Crimson Euphorbia, West Indian Spurge
Adenorima punicea, Euphorbia troyana, Euphorbiodendron puniceum, Euphorbiodendron troyanum, Poinsettia punicea, Tithymalus puniceus
Euphorbia punicea is an unusual succulent shrub that grows up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. The stems are rubbery, semi-succulent, greenish to very pale brown or cream-colored, with prominent traces of the fallen leaves lining the woody lower branches and trunk. Leaves are dark green, normally evergreen, but seasonal drought and cool temperatures can cause foliage to drop away temporarily. The insignificant golden-yellow flowers are surrounded by a very showy crown of flashy-red, petal-like bracts, looking like larger flowers from a distance.
USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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. 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 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.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Native to Jamaica.
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus