Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Euphorbia trigona

Euphorbia trigona 'Royal Red' is a beautiful rich burgundy cultivar of Euphorbia trigona. A cultivar occurs when an environmental or other factor causes changes in a plant. A cultivar is not a hybrid; It is rather a change in the DNA of the cells of one unique plant. In the case of the 'Royal Red', rather than the forest green of Euphorbia trigona, the stem is a lovely marbled burgundy with undulate, reddish burgundy margins and some small burgundy leaves during the active growing season. Excellent for use in bright areas of the home or office or as a patio plant in more temperate regions. In time, becomes a much branched shrub to 6' in height. Responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late spring and summer months. Porous soil with adequate drainage. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch during active growing season. Requires bright light for best appearance, and should be given a winter resting period at which time less water should be given. Protect from frost. Remember, all Euphorbias contain a white sap that can be irritating to the skin and eyes. Wash hands immediately in soap and water if contact is made with the sap. Avoid touching face and eyes while handling Euphorbias. Euphorbia trigona is also known as African Milk Tree." Originating from western Africa, this plant grows up to six feet tall as a spiny shrub-like tree. Small yellowish flowers form alongside the upper ridges of the plant. Verstalie and low-maintenance, the "African Milk Tree" can be pruned and used for fences in tropical countries, placed indoors near a window with good air circulation, or planted outdoors in a succulent landscape.

Care Guide for the Euphorbia Trigona
To maintain a healthy Euphorbia trigona, keep the plant preferably in a sunny, dry location where the mininum temperature is around 55F (12C). To encourage new growth on the Euphorbia trigona, water once a week during the warm seasons and every two weeks during the cold climates. Always allow the soil to dry out between watering and whenever in doubt about watering, do not water. You can propagate by cuttings. Like all Euphorbias, the "African Milk Tree" will release whitish sap when cut. To stem the flow, place the cut edge under cold running water. Then, spray the cut end on the mother plant with water. Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days to prevent rot. The best time to propagate these plants is during the spring and summer, yet propagation works best when the temperature is about 70F. When planting these cuttings, be sure to wear heavy leather gloves or wrap the cut stems in several layers of newspaper for handling. Use a small container that is proportionate to the size of the cutting. If the container is too large, the soil may stay moist and lead to rot. After repotting, wait several days before watering.

Euphorbia trigona f. "Rubra"
The red variety of Euphorbia trigona is popular for succulent gardeners who want to add vibrant and unique colors to their landscape. To maintain the red color of the leaves, provide more sunshine for this plant by placing it near a sunny window or outdoors in full sun. If the weather is very warm, be sure to water this variety more often to prevent the leaves from falling and the plant from becoming scorched.

Versatility and Simplicity
While the Euphorbia trigona does not produce large, colorful flowers, this succulent is verstalie enough to be placed outdoors or indoors, and offers a simple beauty available in two colors. Whatever variety you choose, the Euphorbia trigona will make an excellent houseplant for colder climates or a nice outdoor plant for your patio or garden.

This information came from Cacti 101
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