euphorbia milii

aseedisapromiseMay 14, 2007

I have questions about euphorbia milii that I have had for about 4 years. It is three feet tall and blooms constantly, but has lost leaves over time on the bottom one-half to one third of each branch. The original plant had about seven or eight branches, the same branches it has now. They start all around the the bottom 6 inches of the plant. They are just a lot longer and some fatter now. What I am wondering is: If I were to cut it back would it branch out more? Or do these plants keep the same number of branches? I took a cutting once and the stalk I cut it from on the parent plant never did grow any more. The cutting has never branched out, but is just one long stalk. I am asking because the plant looks top heavy and is wobbly, and I am deciding what to do with it. Recently it is getting one new shoot at the bottom. Also, do you think the cutting would ever get more branches if I were just patient? It seems to lose the most leaves in the spring. Does this mean that it grows mostly in the winter? So then I should cut it back in the fall, if that is what I decide to do?



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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

You can cut these back severely (most times of the year except winter) to have them grow in full & more lush. I don't recall for sure (plants are at home, I'm at work), but I'm pretty sure they'll branch out more after cutting. I tend to cut mine back when they get too tall & they recover just fine.

I can't guess why you're losing leaves in Spring, but mine bloom Spring, Summer & some into Fall; my E. Milii moratii (or marlothii, I never remember right, but it has the variegated leaves & mauve colored blooms), blooms virtually all year long.

I think it's not that cutting them back makes them branch more, rather (if I recall correctly), it makes them sprout new growth from just below the cut area. Similarly, if you cut back the branch just above where the new shoot is sprouting, it'll help focus the plant's energy on that shoot.

One thing I do often is cut several arms (or branches) at once, all at different heights from each other, makes a more visually interesting looking plant. (I don't think these are winter growers.)

If you don't already know this (you may since you say yours blooms so readily), they drink a tremendous amount of water, can take all the best sun you can give them & like frequent fertilizer. Since I upped the water & fertilizer on mine, I get a lot more blooms. HTH = hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 12:54PM
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Thanks Pirate girl, for your long reply. I find that I am getting a general sense of what to do to get growth with the plants I have, but I am wondering more and more what I can do to get specific kinds of growth from a specific plant, or maybe what could be called long-term care. I can grow plants, but what do you do when that cute little plant becomes a tree? I have what I imagine is a pretty common type of milii with coral-red blooms, so I don't think it would hurt to experiment with it. I think I will cut it back, using your the staggered length idea, and see what happens. It is a thirsty plant, liked being on my porch last summer, and likes fertilizer as you say. I wonder if the leaf drop was because I let it get too dry. I get busy keeping track of all the flower and veg seedlings this time of year, and the old standbys get neglected a bit. Thanks for responding.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 3:27PM
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Martha Lyle

I have just purchased the Crown of Thorns plant. I bought it for a patio plant in a pot, but am wondering if it will grow in my yard. I live in Zone 8, on a bay, very sandy soil. I could give it winter protection if we get another very cold winter like this last one. What do y'all think?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 10:14AM
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