In this article, we will talk about a fascinating species of succulent called The White Crown of Thorns Plant or Euphorbia Lophogona. We suggest learning more about its origin, features, reproduction process and further indoor care.
What is the plant
Synonyms: Euphorbia fournieri, Euphorbia madagascariensis
Common name: The White Crown of Thorns Plant or Euphorbia lophogona
Euphorbia lophogona is one of the flora of Madagascar. It can be found in nature in several provinces, such as Fianarantsoa, Tuamasina and Toliara. The natural habitat of this plant is subtropical or tropical coastal wet forests with sandy soil. This species is also commonly referred to as the “White Crown of Thorns.” The succulent was first described by Jean Baptiste Lamarck in 1786 as one of the new plants introduced to Europe from Madagascar.
Euphorbia lophogona is a medium-sized evergreen or semi-deciduous succulent that reaches a height of up to 4 ft (1.2 m). The stem of the White Crown of Thorns is usually unbranched or may have only a few branches. It thins at the top and twists into a spiral shape. Each rib has several spines. The branches are 5-angled, widening toward the ends, with gray leaf scars, dark green to olive-brown in color. Elliptical leaves are glossy, bright green, up to 5 in (12 cm) long and up to 2 in (5 cm) wide. Leaf structure can vary from fleshy to fairly leathery, with a pronounced central vein and pierced white lateral veins. Leaves tend to grow at the top of the stem. The leaf petioles reach 1/2 in (1.5 cm) in length and are quite thick.
Flowers usually grow at the top of the stem, the central flower is yellowish green and surrounded by pink to white bracts. Euphorbia Lophogona starts flowering in summer as early as the first year under good indoor conditions (when propagated by cuttings, and in the second year by seeds). After flowering, the plant matures seeds, subsequently spreading generously within 3 feet (1 m) around the plant pot.
In its native habitat, Euphorbia lophogona is threatened by habitat loss.
Try not to touch the cut parts of the plant. It produces a thick, white, milky sap, better known as latex. The juice of the White Crown of Thorns Plant is poisonous and can cause blindness, severe skin irritation and mucous membrane damage. Make sure you do not leave children or pets unattended with this plant.
Care of Euphorbia Lophogona indoors
This species of Euphorbia is quite popular as an indoor plant because of its stability and ease of care. We will tell you about the subtleties of growing the flower indoors.
Requirements to the soil
The ideal soil for the flower should have an excellent ability to retain moisture, have sufficient porosity for air access to the roots of the succulent. In nature, The White Crown of Thorns Plant prefers poor sandy soil. So you can grow it at home in the same soil as other succulents. You can buy a soil mixture in a store or form your own by mixing equal amounts of sand, peat and fertile soil.
Young seedlings are best planted in small pots with drainage holes.
As they grow, every two or three years, transplant them into a larger container in the spring without injuring the root system. Add a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot, which can be made of expanded clay or small river pebbles.
Room The White Crown of Thorns Plant is best suited to a sunny place, but with slightly shaded light – in open sun the leaves of the flower will burn, and on the stem may appear brown spots. Therefore, an east or west window is best suited for it.
On the other hand, lack of light also affects Euphorbia lophogona. Its stems will elongate and its leaves will become small so that it loses its attractiveness and ages quickly.
Information about succulents
Euphorbia Lophogona does not tolerate extreme temperatures. In summer, the comfortable temperature range is 68-77 °F (20-25 °C). In winter it should be cooler indoors, but not below 60 °F (16 °C). Lower temperatures in winter cause the succulent to slow its growth and hibernate, which has a positive effect on its decorativeness – in winter with minimal light it is not stretched out.
Watering The White Crown of Thorns Plant
Euphorbia lophogona is relatively flexible in its watering requirements. As with any succulent plant when watering, it is best to moisten the soil thoroughly until some water comes out through the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
In hot weather, water at least once a week. In winter, watering is reduced to once every 1.5-2 weeks.
Regular (once a week) fertilization with low nitrogen and high phosphorus and potassium is preferred. Fertilize from spring to mid-autumn and refrain from fertilizing in winter. Fertilizer should be applied in a diluted form.
Support for the plant
The older Euphorbia lophogona gets, the more the stem will stretch out. For this reason, it is recommended to tie it to a support. In this way, the succulent will be subjected to less stress. If there is no support, the stems will be under great pressure and may break under their own weight.
Repotting The White Crown of Thorns Plant
This succulent will be happy from regular repotting. But it doesn’t need to be done every year. If the plant has outgrown its pot, it is time to repot it. This procedure should be carried out in early spring, at the beginning of the growing season. Choose a new container of a size larger. It is better to perform transplanting by the method of transplanting, so as not to damage the root system of the plant.
What problems can be encountered during the care of the succulent
- If the leaves droop and fall off, this indicates a lack of water. The rate and frequency of watering should be regulated.
- If The White Crown of Thorns Plant leaves turn yellow before dropping, this is a sign of overwatering or a drop in temperature. The amount and frequency of watering should be reduced and drafts should be avoided.
- Fewer leaves and too thick a trunk – lack of light can cause this problem.
- In this case, Euphorbia lophogona should be placed in a better lighted place or provide additional lighting. In winter the flower should be kept at a room temperature of around 60 °F (16 °C).
- Spots appear on the leaves, and the trunk becomes rough and covered with a black crust – these are sunburns. In this case the plant should be shaded or moved to a less bright location.
- The White Crown of Thorns Plant may also develop white spots known as powdery mildew. In this case, the succulent should be placed so that there is space for air circulation around it and so that the excess water from watering evaporates in a timely manner.
How to propagate Euphorbia lophogona
Propagate this plant can be done by two methods – by cuttings and seeds. The easiest and most effective of them – cuttings. It is recommended to cut the cuttings in spring or summer, when the plant is actively growing, so that there is a better chance of success. The key factor is heat and good air circulation. The resulting cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone (but this is not necessary) and left for 3-4 weeks until the cutting site is tightened. Then plant the cuttings and keep them in slightly moist substrate until they root. Rooting will be aided by keeping the pot outside or on lower heat.
We used materials from the website thumbgarden.com
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