Milk spurge Cristata – spectacular combs

Euphorbia, both in the garden and in the indoor culture – the plants are amazingly diverse. In addition to the poisonousness, the presence of that very easily recognizable white juice, contact with which is so dangerous, it would seem that nothing unites them. One of the most fashionable milkweed is the amazing form of milkweed “Kristata”. And although this plant is grown almost in the same way as any other “ordinary” spurge, the appearance of the cristata certainly deserves a special status. Its bizarre ridges are reminiscent of either corals or garden corals. Extravagant curves and unusual silhouettes make this plant one of the best candidates for the role of the exotic star of the collection. And a completely non-exotic disposition is a pleasant bonus that does not in the least reduce the attractiveness of the plant.

Milk euphorbia cristata form, variegata form (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata f.variegata)

Whimsical Milkweed Cristat Combs

Unlike the most popular indoor euphorbia lactea, its crested forms and varieties are not known to every grower. And although these plants are not the most common for connoisseurs and are not so often found on the shelves, the beauty of their scallop miracle is mesmerizing. This is one of the most unexpected, fun and extravagant indoor cultures around.

Milk spurge forms cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. cristata) from the family Euphorbiaceae (Euphorbiaceae) among gardeners is most often known simply as euphorbia cristata or euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia ‘Cristata’). And such a simple name is not accidental: this spurge can hardly be confused with other species. Milk milkweed from tropical Asia came to us. A feature of milkweed is its tendency to mutation and rudimentarity: the leaves die off and dry out very quickly, and almost all plants presented in room culture are grafted onto other milkweed.

Milk milkshakes give two types of mutations – variegation and cristate. And it is the cristates that are especially beloved all over the world, although often both mutations are combined in one plant: milkweed cristates with two mutations are on sale – ordinary (f. Cristata) and with a mutation in a chlorophyll-free form (f. Cristata f.variegata). Variegated cristates cannot survive without a rootstock due to their inability to photosynthesize, and greenish cristates – mutant forms not devoid of chlorophyll – can grow on their own roots.

Milkweed are succulents from among perennial shrubs. In nature, this plant forms dense, powerful shoots, but it is not possible for the crested to evaluate them in shape. Crested euphorbia are bizarre both in silhouette and in detail, plants grafted onto a different species. Below, as a rule, there is a more hardy type of euphorbia of the trunk type – an unpretentious ribbed shape that creates a “leg”.

Straight rootstock trunks with a diameter of up to 5 cm perfectly emphasize the unusual greenery, flaunt with protrusions, ribs and teeth, contrasting with the top-scion most often and in color, rich, bright, green. The upper part, or scion, is the same mutating crested milkweed form, resembling a curved ridge, fan or coral, whitish or light gray-green, fleshy, juicy, with segments of a muted color with a lighter, almost white shade of the center, deforming, decorated with various outgrowths, spines, teeth.

These upper parts, unable to survive on their own, suggest practicing associations. Individual growths and curvatures on the plant are decorated with a pinkish-purple bloom, the color and texture are different, resembling algae, then corals, then minerals and stones. In addition, this spurge also manages to bloom: however, the miniature flowers along the edge of the ridges are difficult to see, they are very similar to dew drops, and this phenomenon is very rare.

Milkweed milkweed has many different varieties. All stinks differ in shades of color, effect or metallic sheen – from the silvery-gray ‘Gray Ghost’ to the whitish-bone ‘White Ghost’. Most often, the cristates are sold by Dutch plants: flower centers in this country have achieved the amazing art of rooting mutant milkweed on rootstocks.

Fancy crested milkweed feel great in living rooms, they are displayed only in places where the extravagance of form and structure can be fully appreciated. This plant can become an unexpected decoration of the kitchen, because in the company of utensils and dishes, its shape seems even more “artificial”. But in any other setting, the cristates seem to be just aliens or inhabitants of coral reefs unexpectedly pulled out of their natural environment. They are best suited for those who value originality and want to really surprise with their collection of extravagant plants.

Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata)
Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata). Farmer Maria

Milkweed care for milkweed Christata

Cristate milkweed is considered a more difficult plant to grow than ordinary indoor milkweed. It’s all about the rootstocks and the duality of plants, which makes special demands on watering. Demonstrating good adaptability to indoor, but poor – to hot and cool conditions, such a spurge requires careful, easy care, but does not forgive mistakes.

Any problems result in the loss of the rootstock or the plant itself, so the cristates can be recommended, first of all, to experienced growers who can recognize signs of violations and prevent troubles.

Lighting for milkweed milkweed

This is a light-loving plant that can only grow in a well-lit place. Artificial supplementary lighting cannot compensate for the level of natural light. Milk spurge cannot stand direct sunlight, but even the slightest partial shade will not suit him. Insufficient lighting immediately affects the beauty of the colors and the shape of the ridges.

Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata)
Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata). Farmer Mokkie

Comfortable temperature

Milk spurge is a fairly thermophilic plant that does well in ordinary living quarters. It is better to protect it from heat by limiting the maximum summer temperature to 25 degrees Celsius. But this plant does not tolerate cold conditions, even in winter, a drop in temperature below 15 degrees will be disastrous. It is desirable, but not necessary, for the plant to lower the temperature by a few degrees compared to the summer temperature in winter.

Watering and air humidity

If you want to achieve the maximum decorative effect of the plant, to admire the large and spectacular ridges, you will have to maintain a uniform light soil moisture. Drought and waterlogging, even for a short time, are equally dangerous for this type of milkweed. It is not the milkweed itself that suffers, but the rootstock on which it grows.

When overflowing, even if you quickly adjust the care, root rot is likely to appear on the rootstock. A drought, respectively, will lead to its death and shrinkage. The plant is rarely watered, with an approximate frequency of 1 time in 10 days in spring and summer and 1 time per month in winter, completely drying the substrate in the upper and partly in the middle of the pot before the next watering.

There is no need to increase the air humidity for this plant. Spraying and any wetting of both the rootstock and the comb itself are destructive.

Feeding for milkweed cristata

Fertilizers for this plant must be selected very carefully: only special mixtures for cacti are suitable for crested milkweed. Fertilizers are applied only in spring and summer, with a frequency of 1 time per month.

Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata)
Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata)

Pruning Milkweed Cristata

The milkweed will retain its shape of a fancy comb only if you do not allow the development of unnecessary shoots. In addition to the main ridge, all lateral branches from the rootstock must be carefully cut or broken off from the plant, so that extra “strength” is not wasted on the vegetation of unattractive parts.

Transplant and substrate for milkweed milk Christata

It is necessary to transfer the plant to a new container very carefully and only when the need arises. The capacity is increased by only a few centimeters. Such euphorbia is usually grown in a cramped pot and transplantation is carried out only when the substrate is completely filled with roots.

For milkweed of the milky form of cristates, it is necessary to select special substrates for cacti – very light, with increased moisture permeability.

When transplanting, care should be taken as carefully as possible to ensure that the plant remains at the same depth as it grew earlier. At the bottom of the container, even with correctly selected soil, a high layer of drainage must be laid.

Diseases and pests of milkweed milkweed

Rot is the most dangerous for all crested forms of milkweed. When waterlogged, it spreads very quickly both to the rootstocks and to the ridges themselves. At the slightest signs of decay, an urgent need to trim to healthy tissues and re-root either cuttings or the entire upper part to a new stock.

Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata f.variegata)
Milk euphorbia cristata (Euphorbia lactea f. Cristata f.variegata)

Reproduction of crested milkweed

At home, such milkweed is propagated very rarely, usually when trying to save the plant. The only available method is grafting. Parts of the “combs” or a comb trimmed to healthy tissue are exposed to water to remove juice secretions, and then dried and processed sections. Rooting is carried out in a greenhouse or the plant is immediately grafted onto the stock. But this process is very complicated and only experienced flower growers can do it.


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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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