Succulents for Contemporary Spaces
Euphorbias contain thousands of species originating mainly from tropical and subtopical areas except from Antarctica. All Euphorbias possess two major defining features: 1) flowers are very reduced, and possess neither petals nor sepals and 2) the white poisonous sap, latex, which is found inside the stem.
Another “perfect indoor succulent”
A popular choice for contemporary gardens is the Euphorbia trigona or commonly known as “African Milk Tree.” Originating from western Africa, this plant grows up to six feet tall as a spiny shrub-like tree. Small yellowish flowers form alongside the upper ridges of the plant. Verstalie and low-maintenance, the “African Milk Tree” can be pruned and used for fences in tropical countries, placed indoors near a window with good air circulation, or planted outdoors in a succulent landscape.
Care Guide for the Euphorbia Trigona
To maintain a healthy Euphorbia trigona, keep the plant preferably in a sunny, dry location where the mininum temperature is around 55°F (12°C). To encourage new growth on the Euphorbia trigona, water once a week during the warm seasons and every two weeks during the cold climates. Always allow the soil to dry out between watering and whenever in doubt about watering, do not water.
To create a larger collection of this plant, you can propagate by cuttings. Like all Euphorbias, the “African Milk Tree” will release whitish sap when cut. To stem the flow, place the cut edge under cold running water. Then, spray the cut end on the mother plant with water. Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days to prevent rot. The best time to propagate these plants is during the spring and summer, yet propagation works best when the temperature is about 70°F. When planting these cuttings, be sure to wear heavy leather gloves or wrap the cut stems in several layers of newspaper for handling. Use a small container that is proportionate to the size of the cutting. If the container is too large, the soil may stay moist and lead to rot. After repotting, wait several days before watering.
Euphorbia trigona f. “Rubra”
The red variety of Euphorbia trigona is popular for succulent gardeners who want to add vibrant and unique colors to their landscape. To maintain the red color of the leaves, provide more sunshine for this plant by placing it near a sunny window or outdoors in full sun. If the weather is very warm, be sure to water this variety more often to prevent the leaves from falling and the plant from becoming scorched.
Versatility and Simplicity
While the Euphorbia trigona does not produce large, colorful flowers, this succulent is verstalie enough to be placed outdoors or indoors, and offers a simple beauty available in two colors. Whatever variety you choose, the Euphorbia trigona will make an excellent houseplant for colder climates or a nice outdoor plant for your patio or garden.
- Break off a piece of the plant that is about 4 to 5 inches long.
- Put the cutting in the soil to a depth of at least ¾ of an inch.
- Plant the cutting in a well-drained mixture such as “Cactus Mix,” which you may be able to find from your local nursery. If you cannot find “Cactus Mix,” you can make your own soil: Use one part compost, loam and, peat or standard potting mix, one part perlite or pumice.
- Use a small pot that is about 4” in diameter.
- After the “cutting has dried for at least a week, dampen the soil.
- Cover the plant with a clear plastic bag (or sit a large freezer bag) and place it in strong but not direct light.
- Water only when the soil is dry.
- New growth should appear in a couple of months.
- Do not fertilize it until the plant is growing.