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Spurge - Euphorbia milii

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Euphorbia milii

The genus Euphorbia is very broad and heterogeneous, shrubs, succulent plants, plants with spines similar to columnar cacti, plants with spines similar to globose cacti are part of this genus; the many species are widespread all over the globe, in Africa, Asia, America. Euphorbia milii is a semi-succulent, with fleshy stems, non-succulent leaves and the typical flowers, present in all species of euphorbia, called ciazi; Euphorbia milii is native to southern Africa, in nature it becomes a large shrub, with succulent, woody or semi-woody stems at the base, especially in older specimens. The stems, erect, very branched, carry large sharp thorns, which in the specimens that live in the wild, are used to allow the plant to grow attached to the stem of tall trees, since the stems, by themselves, tend to become excessively weak if they grow over a meter in height.

The leaves are oval, dark green in color, often covered with a thin layer of bloom, which makes them opaque; the foliage is present only on the shoots, and in the apical part of the branches; they tend to fall if the plant is grown in a very dry climate, and instead they are produced in abundance in case of cooler and more humid climate.

At the apex of the branches, small inflorescences bloom throughout the summer, with yellow flowers subtended by typically red bracts; there are numerous hybrids and particular varieties, with yellow, white, pink bracts, and also with very large bracts. This Euphorbia lends itself very well to being grown in an apartment, where it can happen that it continues to bloom throughout the year.


Grow Euphorbia milii

This succulent plant is easy to grow, and also very suitable as a houseplant; although it is a plant with a succulent stem, it does not particularly like drought and extreme heat: it can easily withstand the hot and dry summer climate, however it develops best if watered regularly.

Place the plant in a not excessively large container, using a well-drained soil, soft and incoeso, which, however, manages to retain a little humidity; generally a mixture of universal potting soil, with perlite or pumice stone is used to circulate the air and a little bit of potting soil of leaves or pieces of bark, which maintain a little humidity; a spoonful of slow release fertilizer per pot guarantees a good fertilization, however we use a fertilizer for succulent plants, low in nitrogen.

Plants need regular watering, in particular if the climate is hot and dry: we water when the soil is dry, avoiding to leave it dry for a long time, or our Euphorbia will begin to lose the foliage and produce fewer flowers.

These plants love well-lit locations, with at least a few hours of direct sunlight every day; we avoid leaving them completely in the sun on hot and muggy days, or we check that the plant receives the correct watering in this type of conditions.

The Euphorbie milii do not like the intense cold, which surely causes the fall of the foliage and a stop in the flowering; moreover, it can happen that intense frosts ruin the most external branches, and favor the development of rottenness, which lead to the death of the whole plant.

During the winter these plants are grown in a greenhouse or apartment, with one minimum temperature above 4 ° C.

In general, these succulents do not seem to suffer if they are grown as apartment plants, therefore with about 20 ° C during the winter and a more natural climate during the summer; in the right conditions of cultivation they tend to bloom continuously.

Especially hybrid plants, new varieties, often grafted, tend to need regular watering, semi-shading and good fertilization, unlike what happens for many other succulent plants.

However, we should avoid placing our plant in a place completely free of direct sunlight, or we will never see it bloom again.

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