Monday, June 30, 2014

How to care for the Happy Euphorbia

Euphorbia lactea

On my latest trip to the florist, I could not pass by this example of "great hope for science". Science is destined to become a happier endeavor. The field of horticulture is one of the best scientific areas to begin learning that. Not even the stodgiest of folks, can help but smile in wonder or good-naturedly laugh at some of the sometimes surprising shapes presented in nature by the succulent family of plants. 

This inspiring succulent is not officially a cactus, although it does look like one. It's called a Euphorbia lactea and appears with its arms lifting up for joy!  It will stay in a quietly euphoric state for a long time, if given the proper care. Also known as a candelabra plant, it will continue to add more uplifted arms, as it matures, until it really does closely resemble a candelabra. Its also been call a hat-rack plant and even dragon-bones. It can grow 8' high!

Euphorbias are mostly native to subtropical Africa; this one is from India and some species claim Mexico as their native home. There are many species of euphorbia available as easy- care houseplants. The favorite Christmas plant, the poinsettia, is also from that happy family.

This fabulous florist would be happy to send a plant or flower arrangement almost anywhere in the world for you: 

Care Instructions:
  • Some direct sun
  • For a 4" (10cm) diameter pot, water when the soil is dry about 1/2" below the soil surface
  • For a  6" (15cm) diameter pot, water when soil is dry about 1" (2.5cm) below the soil surface with about a pint (1/2 liter) of water
  • For an 8"diameter pot, water when the soil is dry about 2" (5cm) below the soil surface with about a quart (almost 1 liter) of water   
  • For a 10" diameter pot, water when the soil is dry about 3" (cm) inches below the soil surface
  • Fertilize regularly for best growth
  • Soil moisture meters made to test the moisture level of indoor plant's soil are readily available at your hardware store, nursery or garden center

***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:

The Indoor Garden TV show



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