Euphorbia tithymaloides 'Variegata'
Variegated Devil's Backbone, Japanese Poinsettia, Slipper Spurge, Redbird Cactus
Euphorbia tithymaloides f. variegata, Pedilanthus tithymaloides 'Variegatus'
Euphorbia tithymaloides 'Variegata', formerly known as Pedilanthus tithymaloides 'Variegatus', is a popular succulent with oval, medium green, slightly glossy, and white-edged leaves that flank the zigzag stems to resemble a crooked backbone with ribs. It grows up to 8 feet (2.4 m) tall and up to 24 inches (60 cm) wide. Although flowering in flushes year-round in warm tropical regions, it blooms most heavily in summer. At the stems' tip, small star-shaped red flowers protrude from a cluster of reddish bracts. When flowering or chilly winter temperatures occur, the leaves may blush pink. An extended drought or winter cold spell may cause the leaves to drop off completely.
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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. 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.
This succulent is a variegated cultivar of Euphorbia tithymaloides.
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus