Euphorbia is one of the largest genera, containing over 1700 species of plants, originating from around the world. almost all these plants have the characteristic that when cut or engraved emit a white substance, very stinging and poisonous. There are varieties that are very similar to cacti, but unlike them they do not have areoles, the euphorbias have spines on humpiness.
Many varieties also have real leaves, which give the plant a more tree rather than succulent plant habit.
The blooms of these plants are very beautiful, but often the effect is not due to the flowers, but to bracts (transformed leaves, usually changes the pigmentation). When the plant is adult it produces fruits that contain a lot of seeds, when these are ripe they click suddenly throwing the seeds away from the mother plant.
Originally from the countries of South Africa is one of the most common, very similar to the cactus, with short stems and very ramified. Head posture, with semi-slippery branches. In the warmer months it shows a yellow flowering.
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Native to South Africa, it is a very particular plant, with globular stems that turn into cylindrical, gray-green in color, are composed of 8 coasts not much in relief, which are joined by rows of thorns vertically. The blooms, which usually develop on the apex, are very decorative. This plant is very delicate as it suffers from water stagnation.
Euphorbias are interesting plants, succulent, which find many uses, in the garden or even in pots: excellent in the edges, but also as wallpaper, especially on dry soil. Their peculiar characteristics are represented by the beauty of the stems and leaves and by the abundant production of flowers. They are also very resistant to the point that some are among the most feared pests.
The genus includes more than 2000 species (it is by far one of the largest). In a spontaneous state they are found in all continents except Antarctica. In some environments they appear as thorny and greasy plants, without leaves.
For horticultural purposes, they can be classified into two groups: lively rustic perennials and evergreen perennials.
L’EUPHORBIA IN BREVE
Type of plant
Annual, biennial or perennial, succulent, flowering
Persistent or transient
From April to July
From 10 cm to more than 2 metres
Dry, well drained
Medium to high
How to Grow Euphorbia
Euphorbias in nature prefer poor soils, in some cases dry, in others fresh or even wet: it is important to ensure a similar environment in the garden. Let’s avoid only those that are too rich and nitrogen fertilizers because they stimulate the growth of too long and fragile jets that will not be able to support the weight of the inflorescences.
The genre is really wide and the needs different. We can say that the euphorbias native to the Mediterranean basin want a sunny exposure, but others grow well even in half shade or even in complete shade.
Almost all euphorbias commonly sold as garden plants can safely withstand temperatures around -15°C, but it is good to check before buying, reading the label or asking the dealer.
When and how to plant euphorbia
The best time for this operation is certainly autumn: the plants will have all winter to explore the soil with their roots and when the good weather comes they will be ready to grow and bloom.
In any case, it is possible to carry out this process even at the beginning of spring, when the frosts are definitely over.
The plants are usually sold in small pots: let’s dig holes a little larger than the bread of the earth and inseriamocele, then compacting the soil well. If this appears too clayey, let’s mix it with a little sand. For distances let’s take into consideration the final width indicated on the label and divide it in half.
When handling euphorbias we always wear gloves and glasses, as the latex coming out of the stems is very irritating.
There are many small euphorbias that are perfectly suited for potted cultivation. Let’s create on the bottom a thick draining layer with some gravel, insert the plant and block it with the soil. The ideal compound is a mixture of universal soil and coarse river sand.
For this type of cultivation the ideal exposure is almost always the half shade.
Euphorbia cultivation treatments
They are not particularly demanding plants.
– We avoid the onset of weeds by applying a thick layer of mulch to the base. Let’s avoid weeding that area instead, because we would risk ruining the fragile surface roots.
– We avoid any kind of fertilization
– Let’s irrigate, for most of the species, only when the soil is completely dry. In winter it is possible to interrupt the irrigation.
– Rhizomatous root varieties are often very invasive under the right conditions. It is important to devote yourself frequently to cutting and grubbing up new roots. Alternatively, at the time of planting, barriers can be set up, at least 30 cm deep.
– We also need to monitor the varieties that spread easily: we eliminate the wilted flowers before the seeds can ripen.
Pruning in euphorbias is not strictly necessary. In the vigorous species, however, it is advisable to intervene in autumn by shortening them to contain the expansion.
Once completely withered, however, the lively varieties must all be cut about 5 cm above the ground. Evergreens are cut immediately after flowering to allow for new growth, which will bring the flowers the following year.
During the vegetative period, always remove the exhausted flowers in time to avoid self-dissemination.
How to multiply the Euphorbia
Euphorbias are quite simple to multiply: you can proceed by seed, division or cutting.
You will get plants very similar to the mother: proceed in autumn by extracting the roots and dividing them into sections with the help of a pitchfork
Sowing is carried out in mid-autumn, so that the seedlings are already developed when they are planted in spring. However, we must bear in mind that we will easily find seedlings born spontaneously and that it will only be necessary to move them where we like.
The ideal time is after the end of flowering: cut branches and immerse yourself in cold water (so as to stop the leakage of latex). Let them dry in a shady, ventilated place for at least 2 weeks.
In this period the callus will form: we insert the stems in a mixture of soil and sand (or agri-perlite). We vaporize slightly, but often, with water and keep at a temperature of about 28 ° C for at least 15 days. The roots will appear soon enough and we can transfer them to the final substrate by the end of autumn.
Euphorbia: VARIETA ‘
FIORI E FOGLIE
It has leaves ranging from linear to elliptical. The branches are bare at the bottom and rich in leaves at the top.
The flowers are yellow and very numerous, in spring.
Up to 2 meters
Pale green rigid stems, elliptical or lanceolate leaves, flowers gathered in umbrellas, yellow
Up to 1 m
Un-dense, tomentose, glaucous drums. The leaves are spirally arranged, evergreen (even variegated).
Yellow or black flowers of varying sizes.
Up to 1.2 m
Oblong leaves, .
very large green inflorescences
Approx. 10 cm, floor cover
Bright green inflorescences, from May to August
Up to 60 cm, bushy habit.
“Euphorbia & Martinii”
Evergreen, it blooms on the jets of the previous year in yellow, orange or red
40 to 60 cm, bushy
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