The huge variety of euphorbia offered today by flower markets for both garden and indoor culture never ceases to amaze. However, new, often capricious species, unfortunately, are supplanted by the well-proven old species. Those that stood on the windowsills in almost every home and institution just half a century ago. One of these is the euphorbia comb, or ribbed, or comb-ribbed. Despite some “oblivion”, this plant is worthy of special attention. If only because it has an outstanding appearance and requires simple (even for beginners) care.
Euphorbia is an unpretentious flowering succulent. Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Dallas Krentzel
In their homeland, the east coast of Madagascar, milkweed crested (Euphorbia lophogona) is a rather large succulent-stem shrub, reaching a height of 120 cm. It is found in tropical and subtropical coastal forests, where it prefers sandy soil.
Its difference from other euphorbia, as the name implies, is the unusual shape of the trunk, bearing five faces, or peculiar ribs with gray scars, and crowning the crown – a bunch of bright green, elongated-oval leaves. At first glance, this plant resembles a kind of palm tree with a ribbed trunk. However, this spurge has nothing to do with palm trees.
The stem of the euphorbia is often unbranched or has only a few branches. It narrows at the top and twists in a spiral. Each rib carries a row of thorns. The leaves are fleshy, glossy, decorated with white veins, the middle vein is convex. They are located at the top of the stem. Flowers are collected in yellowish-green inflorescences surrounded by white or pinkish bracts.
If the milkweed ribbed in room conditions is good, in the summer from the first year of life (this is when propagating by a cuttings, and when propagating by seeds – from the second year), it blooms. Flowers form in the upper part of the stem, and after flowering, the plant reproduces independently by seeds, generously scattering them within a radius of a meter from itself.
As mentioned above, in nature, Euphorbia prefers poor sandy soils. Therefore, for growing at home, the same composition that is used for cacti and succulents is suitable for him. It can be purchased in malls or flower shops, or you can prepare it yourself by mixing equal parts of sand, peat and leafy earth.
It is better to plant young plants in small pots. And then, as it grows, every two to three years in the spring, transfer it, without injuring the root system, into a larger container. At the bottom of the pot, it is necessary to form a drainage layer, which can be made of expanded clay or medium-sized river pebbles. On top of it add a handful of charcoal – spurge does not like stagnation of moisture in the roots, and such a “pillow” will keep it from decay.
It is better to choose a place for this plant that is sunny, but with diffused light – in the open sun, the euphorbia gets burned leaves, and its trunk becomes covered with coarse brown spots. Therefore, the best option for him would be an east or west window.
However, the lack of light also has an effect on the spurge – its stems stretch out, the leaves become small, the plant loses its attractiveness and ages quickly. Therefore, in the conditions of the northern window, it is recommended to supplement it.
Does not like euphorbia ribbed and extreme temperatures. In summer, the comfortable temperature range is from +20 to + 25 ° С. In winter it is cooler, but not lower than +16 ° С. Lowering winter temperatures provides the milkweed with a slowdown in growth processes, which has a good effect on the decorativeness of the plant – it does not stretch out with a winter lack of illumination.
Euphorbia tolerates dry air well. Therefore, in the summer you can safely put it out on the street. However, when spraying neighboring plants, it is not bad to remember about him – infrequent spraying is good for him.
Watering the milkweed should be correct. Despite the fact that the plant does not like stagnant moisture, it is necessary to water it abundantly enough in the spring and summer with well-settled, soft water at room temperature. At the same time, it is very simple to calculate the volume of irrigation water – you need to shed the soil so that a little excess moisture comes out into the hole of the pot. Between watering, the soil in the pot must be allowed to dry out somewhat.
In the fall, the volume of irrigation water is reduced. And the more the temperature of the content decreases by the winter period, the less often watering is carried out. In the spring, when the temperature rises, the volume of irrigation water and the frequency of irrigation are increased again.
In order to stimulate the development of milkweed in spring, summer and until mid-autumn, it needs to provide weekly fertilizing with fertilizers for cacti and succulents. Or use ordinary fertilizers for indoor flowers, with a high content of phosphorus and potassium, but in a highly diluted form.
The older the spurge becomes, the higher it is. For this reason, it is recommended to tie it to a support. So it will experience less stress and will not break when rearranged.
Read also our article Indoor milkweed – what are they and how to grow them?
Reproduction of crested milkweed
Euphorbia can reproduce not only by seeds, but also by cuttings. Moreover, as already mentioned, the plant scatters the seeds on its own, and they actively germinate in all the pots surrounding it.
To propagate euphorbia purposefully, the seeds must be collected and sown on the surface of a light soil substrate, moisten the earth with a spray bottle and cover the bowl with foil or glass. Seedlings will appear quickly. Further, young seedlings must be planted in separate pots and looked after according to the same rules as for adult plants.
Reproduction by cuttings is more problematic, since the euphorbia is rarely and reluctantly branching. If you cut off the top of his head, the decorative effect of the plant is lost. Therefore, when it is possible to separate the stalk, it is separated in late spring or summer. Within a few days (2-3 days) they wither. And only then are they planted in a soil substrate.
They do the same with the cut off crown, only let the milky juice drain and sprinkle the cut with crushed coal or cinnamon. They work carefully with the cuttings, since the milky juice of milkweed is poisonous and can cause irritation and even burns on the skin.
Read also our article Bizarre silhouettes of star euphorbia.
Possible growing problems
Sometimes the spurge begins to lose its decorative effect, and then the question arises: how to help the plant? The answer is simple – to level the conditions of detention.
If the foliage of a plant drops and falls, this indicates a lack of moisture. It is necessary to increase the rate and frequency of watering milkweed.
If, before falling off, the leaves turn yellow, this indicates excessive watering, or temperature fluctuations. It is necessary to moderate the volume and frequency of irrigation water application, eliminating drafts.
The plant grows small leaves, the trunk began to stretch out – this problem is provoked by a lack of lighting. In this case, milkweed must either find a lighter place, or provide additional lighting. In winter, the temperature can be reduced to about +16 ° C.
Spots appear on the leaves, the trunk coarsens and becomes covered with a dark crust – these are sunburns. In this case, the plant must be shaded or rearranged to diffused light.
Does not like euphorbia and dense arrangement of plants. With an excess of moisture, peculiar white fluffy spots – powdery mildew – can begin to form on its vegetative mass. Therefore, the plant must be placed so that there is a space around it that provides air circulation and allows the excess moisture formed after watering to evaporate in time.