Euphorbia is an extremely extensive and diverse genus of plants, numbering more than 2,000 species. They are united by the presence of milky juice in the tissues, as well as the special structure of the inflorescences – cyathium.
Euphorbia exhibit a huge morphological diversity: they are annual, biennial, perennial plants; evergreen, deciduous, semi-deciduous; trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants; with leaves and thorns, leaves and without thorns, with thorns and without leaves, similar to cacti. More than a hundred species are succulents and have thickened trunks, stems, shoots, or underground organs designed to store moisture during a drought.
Conventionally, all cultivated Euphorbia can be divided into the following groups:
Home care of Euphorbia
These plants are unpretentious in cultivation, very light-loving and mostly drought-resistant, in winter they need cool maintenance.
Euphorbia is undemanding of soil fertility. The main condition is that the soil should be loose and not rich. For the cultivation of Euphorbia, an earth mixture for succulents or cacti is suitable. Independently, it can be obtained by mixing the following components of turf earth: leafy earth: sand (1: 1: 1). Acidity should be at the level of slightly acidic (pH 5.0-6.0).
Milkweed is transplanted in March, before the beginning of active growth, young – every year, later – every 2-3 years. Spherical and caudex milkweed does not require frequent transplants. They are transplanted once every few years when the pot becomes small. For planting, use pots of standard proportions with good drainage.
For Euphorbia, bright but diffused light is necessary, so on the southern windows the plants are kept with shade – Euphorbia with developed leaves in the sun can lose most of the foliage. Optimally, the content on the windowsills of the eastern and western exposure, on the northern light for milkweed is not enough. In the summer, it is useful to take the plants out into the open air, for example, on the balcony, providing protection from direct sunlight. A sharp change in lighting conditions in a number of species can cause foliage to fall.
Euphorbia is heat-loving plant, from spring to autumn the room temperature should be within + 22 … + 26 °C. In the autumn-winter period, coolness is desirable, within + 12 … + 18 °C, for milkweed Mile – no higher than + 15 °C. Despite the fact that most indoor species can tolerate colder conditions, the temperature should not be lowered below + 12 °C. In the case of warm winter maintenance, it is necessary to provide the brightest possible place, for some species, additional illumination with a phytolamp or fluorescent light may be required.
For Euphorbia should be moderate. In spring and summer, they are watered as the top layer of the substrate dries. Water is used soft, slightly warmer than room temperature. Bush, caudex and spherical Euphorbia withstand overdrying, and species that have leaves do not tolerate moisture deficiency, dropping leaves and peduncles. In winter, watering is reduced by drying the substrate between watering. Spherical and caudex species with cold maintenance in winter are not watered at all, excessive moisture can cause rotting of the roots. On cold and rainy days in summer, milkweed is also not recommended to be watered.
Milkweed is undemanding to humidity, tolerates dry indoor air well. Only white-veined milkweed is recommended to spray and wipe the leaves with a damp sponge.
From spring to autumn, milkweed is fed with a complex mineral fertilizer for cacti or succulents, with a predominance of phosphorus and potassium and low nitrogen content. The frequency of fertilization is 1 time per month.
In the autumn-winter period, milkweed is organized a period of rest in the cool, at + 12 … + 18 °C, for milkweed Mile – no higher than + 15 °C. For milkweed beautiful and milkweed Mile, a cold period is simply necessary, without it, flowering will not occur.
Is used for bush-like Euphorbia. If you cut off the top, the plant is more willing to branch. Pruning is applicable at any time of the year. Milkweed Mil is pinched several times from spring to autumn.
Euphorbia is little susceptible to pests.
All parts of the plant contain poisonous milky sap, which can cause skin irritation and rashes. It is necessary to work with milkweed in gloves. In case of juice getting into the eyes, they are washed with plenty of water. Milkweed Mil during the flowering period can cause allergic reactions up to hay fever, which occurs under the influence of pollen of the plant.
Propagation of Euphorbia
Euphorbia is propagated by seeds and cuttings, some species by dividing the bush (Milkweed Mil) or by grafting (mainly the crista forms of milkweed).
Seed propagation is hampered by the fact that many Euphorbia is dioecious plants, and both female and male plants are required to produce seeds. Most often, seed reproduction is used for monoecious Euphorbia of white-veined and obese milkweed. Seeds germinate quickly.
The remaining species are propagated mainly by stem cuttings. They can be taken at any time in spring or summer. The milky juice released on the section is washed off with warm water, then the cuts are dried during the day. Planted in the soil for succulents and kept at a temperature of + 24 … + 25 °C. Rooting usually occurs within 3 weeks.
It should be borne in mind that caudex species are grown from cuttings, usually do not form caudex.