Green Thumb | Crowning glory in garden

EUPHORIC EUPHORBIA: The stunning flowers of the Euphorbia milii are not flowers at all but bracts or modified leaves. Euphorbias love sun and can take a little neglect. In the right conditions they produce masses of flowers.
EUPHORIC EUPHORBIA: The stunning flowers of the Euphorbia milii are not flowers at all but bracts or modified leaves. Euphorbias love sun and can take a little neglect. In the right conditions they produce masses of flowers.

Crown of Thorns is the common name for Euphorbia milii, one of the most popular indoor plants available because it’s so hardy and flowers nearly all year long.

Originating from Madagascar this plant becomes thorny and will reach about 50cm and sometimes up to one metre in height. It has succulent, oval-shaped leaves and the flowers are usually red, but specimens are available in pink, white or yellow.

The flowers are actually bracts (modified leaves) that look like petals, with the flowers themselves small and insignificant between the bracts.

The Euphorbia milii is very easy to grow. It loves sunshine and will reward you with a mass of flowers if it gets enough light. It will still grow well in a semi-shaded location, but the number of flowers will be less.

If you’re using this plant as an indoor specimen, it needs a warm room with masses of natural light – put it near a north-facing window for great results.

This plant will also grow well outside, just make sure it doesn’t get too much water and doesn’t get too cold. In a really cold spot this plant is known to drop its leaves.

Watering is also important - water and then wait for the top few centimetres of soil to dry out before you water again; the plant needs to be in a well-drained soil. Never let the soil dry out completely.

Most experienced gardeners would have noticed this plant was in the genus Euphorbia which might have rung a warning bell. This group of plants contains a poisonous sap which can be an irritant to skin and more importantly the eyes, so keep this plant away from young children and from animals.

The Crown of Thorns is a truly gorgeous plant. Give it sun and water and it will reward you with an endless supply of flowers. It’s also forgiving. Mistreat it a couple of times and it will still look great, but long periods of mistreatment (not enough light and too much or too little water) will cause problems. If you don’t have one already, put this plant on your wish list.

Diary  

The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens have plants for sale every Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am to noon at their nursery in the gardens behind the curator’s cottage. There is also a plant sale on Sunday March 18, 11am till 2pm at the same location.

April 8: Rutherglen & District Garden Club will hold its 29th Annual Flower Show at the Memorial Hall, High Street, Rutherglen from 12pm to 4pm and in conjunction with the Victorian Rose Society, will present the Victorian Autumn Country Rose Championship. Entry $6 includes afternoon refreshment.  Children admitted free.  Official opening and trophy presentation at 3pm