Euphorbia succulenta (Schweick.) Bruyns
Euphorbia neostapelioides, Euphorbia succulenta var. succulenta, Monadenium stapelioides, Monadenium succulentum
Euphorbia succulenta, formerly Monadenium succulentum, is a succulent plant with a large fleshy rootstock, numerous erect or decumbent branches, and very fleshy leaves spirally arranged at the branch tips. It branches mainly from the base, forming a domed cushion up to 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter. The stems are dark green with prominent, upward-pointing tubercles and can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) thick. The leaves are dark green, often marbled with purple. They last only one season, reaching up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in length.
The cyathia (false flowers) with cup-shaped involucres edged with dull red and greenish-white bract-cup flushed with pink arise in the axils of the tubercles on up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long stalks. They are small but showy when produced in large numbers. The fruits are sharply 3-lobed capsules that contain pale grey seeds.
This species is variable in the diameter of the stems, the number and size of tubercles, the shape of leaves, and the length of inflorescences.
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 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 there are a few pests and diseases to be alert for.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
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