Botanical Name: Euphorbia milii
Crown of Thorns plant is one of the rare succulents capable of blooming almost year-round.
Bright-green leaves grow along its thick, thorny stems. Lower leaves naturally fall off as the plant ages. If your plant gets too tall and leggy, you can prune it back by half its size in spring. This will cause it to branch out. New stems will grow from below where the pruning cuts were made, making this succulent bushy and full.
Its flowers are actually bracts that last for several weeks and are available in bright pink, red, white or yellow.
Today's hybrids produce more -- even bigger -- flowers than ever before. Spring and summer are usually the best seasons for an abundance of blooms.
Crown of Thorns flower dependably when they get enough light. They're easy to grow and drought-tolerant, prefering slightly dry, sandy soil. This succulent stores water in its thick stems just like a cactus, so it can be watered less frequently than other house plants. If its leaves turn yellow and fall off, cut back on the watering.
CAUTION: Wear thick gloves when handling this plant -- those thorns are sharp! Also, watch out for its toxic, milky sap, which can irritate your skin, eyes and mouth.
Height: 2 ft (60 cm). Prune off growing tips to control plant's height.
Light: Bright light to full sun.
Water: Allow the top 1 in (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings. Water less in winter when the plant rests. Also, avoid getting water on the leaves and stems because they can rot if they get too wet.
Humidity: Average to dry room humidity.
Temperature: Grows best with average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C; A cooler winter rest of 55°F/13° will help it to bloom.
Soil: A fast-draining medium such as cactus potting mix works best.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. In winter, feed monthly.
Propagation: Take 3 in (7.5 cm) stem cuttings in spring or summer. Dip the cut ends in warm water for a few minutes to stop the flow of sap then allow to dry for 24 hours before inserting into barely moist potting mix. Cuttings will root in about 6 weeks.
Plants that don't bloom aren't getting enough light.
Move Crown of Thorns to a sunny window where it gets about 4 hours of direct sun every day.
Many colors are available: pink, red, yellow and white. 'Short and Sweet' is a compact cultivar.