Moving a 10-12' Euphorbia

chezronSeptember 13, 2011

I have a large 10-12' Euphorbia ingens with seven "arms." I want another plant in its place, so I am giving away on Craig's list. Is it possible, or maybe advisable to cut this at ground level, let it callous over, and then replant?

My understanding is that these reroot easily. Is this correct? I do not want to kill it, so I need advice. I want to put a Echinopsis terscheckii in its place. I love the look of a Saguaro but I don't have the time to wait for it to get arms.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Way too big to expect a plat this size to reroot easily as one giant cutting, and even smaller pieces will reroot best if done in spring rather than fall when temps are cooling down. I'd suggest digging the plant up with a sufficient size football if you want it to move at full size. Saguaro cactus aren't really a good grower for non desert areas, the tend to rot in wet California winters.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:38AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Actually, if this is a Euphorbia ingens (as opposed to Saguro cactus, different plant entirely), then do transplant pretty well, even very large ones. My neighbor had several very tall Euphorbia ingens he has transplanted very successfully. I'll ask him what he did to transplant them - they were all over 8' tall and are up on his slope and doing well.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:00AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Since you're in relatively warm/dry San Diego, you may still have warm enough fall conditions to promote active new root growth. My experience with E. ingens from calloused cuttings here in the SF Bay Area, is don't mess with rerooting during cool/wet months of late fall thru early spring or they'll rot. The do move easily enough as larger specimens, but may also need a metal pole for future staking, as the can get top heavy and lean out or break arms over time if they are getting well watered or grown too lush.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:51AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Agree with that bahia. It's a bit of a gamble in September, but usually we don't see rains until December, which would be enough time to allow this Euphorbia to get re-established. Spoke with my neighbor Tom, who actually told me the 2 very large Euphorbias were actually larger branches that broke off from the mother plant (is is a "mother of a plant", lol!) So, here's his suggestions:

Those big Euphorbias on the hill were cuttings... not really transplanted.

-They were broken off from the mother plant at the branch point/node.

-I then put them in the shade for 2 weeks to harden off.

-I dug a hole in the sandy slope and mixed potting soil with the sand (50-50%).

-I back filled some of the mix into the hole.

-I put the cutting in about 6inches from the soil line into the hole, and packed in the rest of the mix in around it.

-I watered it in really well one time just after putting into the hole and then left it alone.

I wasn't expecting a high survival rate, however it has been months now and they all seem to be doing really well.

Seems that it is hard to kill Euphorbias.

As far as transplanting:

-I would probably just follow general transplanting principals... Get as big a root ball as you can, do it on a cool day, water it in well, etc.

Transplanting safety warning:

-I believe Euphorbia roots also have that toxic sap.

-In addition, at 10 feet high, there will be a lot of wobble in the plant when it is moved and that may cause the branches to break. If you are standing under a freshly broken branch you might be in for a painful/burning surprise.

All great advice. I would admonish you to NOT touch your eyes during any of this transplanting until you have a chance to wash your hands and any other areas or clothing that may have come into contact with the sap, as it highly irritating. If you get the sap in your eyes, this is a medical emergency, necessitating immediate eye flushing and a trip to the ER. I also think bahia's suggestion of trying to stake is a good one as well.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Awesome advice guys! Way better than reading a "how-to" book, which is why I LOVE this forum! Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 7:10PM
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And wear a back brace...they are so much heavier then they look.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 1:22PM
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