Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia Milii, is a succulent and kin to the poinsettia. Originally from Madagascar, it became popular during Victorian times as a houseplant. Nicknames for it include Crown of Thorns, Christ Plant, and Christ Thorn which are all due to its thorns on the branches. Crown of Thorns is an evergreen plant and is also drought resistant. It produces woody, succulent stems up to three feet high. The thorns cover the stems randomly and measure up to an inch long. The bright green leaf bracts grow randomly and slightly sparse. They appear mostly on newer stems and fall away from the older stems. Blooms appear mostly throughout the spring and late into the summer. However, in ideal conditions, the plant can produce flowers year-round. The true flowers are small and green, surrounded by showy bracts in red, orange, pink, yellow or white.
Most of you live in colder growing zones and would need to grow it indoors. It is an excellent houseplant. Cactus potting soil works well. You can bring it outside once the threat of frost is gone. Return it to the house in the fall. The plant does not store water like a cactus but takes in water through the leaves. Misting the plant on a daily basis can help keep it happy in the house. Crown of Thorns needs direct bright light. Place it in a bright, sunny window on the west or south side of your home.
Despite its thorny look, I haven’t found it hard to work with. I just planted two in my flower bed beside the garage. No problem planting them or watering them. You can plant Euphorbia milii outdoors in the warm climates of USDA hardiness zones 9B through 11. My area is semi-tropical zone 9B. Really I should probably have put them in pots for ease in moving for protection when temperatures drop. The State of Florida suggests only planting in zone 10, but I plan to put large empty planters over them next winter if the temperatures get close to freezing. Water the plant on a weekly basis and remember to allow the soil to dry completely. They work great in Florida as they are heat tolerant and salt spray tolerant. For more information on growing Crown of Thorns check out Crown of Thorns.
Caution: Besides the sharp black thorns on its main branches and stems, the sticky, latex sap from broken leaves and stems can be a skin and eye irritant. If ingested, all parts of the plant are toxic to people and pets.
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