Euphorbia Lactea Cristata Full Guide – Care, Fertilization, Diseases & More …

The Euphorbia lactea cristata is a cactiform plant, that is, shaped like a cactus. It is a variety of crested succulent Euphorbia lactea. It features fan-shaped or wavy crest branches that are particularly distinctive and attractive. The common names know it of crested plants or crested plants. It is a species native to India and Sri Lanka. Its curious wavy crested stems usually have various colors between green with yellowish spots, pink or purple. The most common crest color that this plant presents is typically dark green. Which is marked with quite striking silver-grey zigzag patterns.

There are also some common species of Euphorbia lactea cristata. These do not have a distinctive crest but rather flattened stems on three sides. With a shape similar to a candelabrum, they can reach a height of up to 16 feet without problems. These species do not have leaves and do not usually present flowering; however, they have black spines on their branches’ undulating parts. These plants are easy to grow but slow to develop; thanks to this, they are often used as indoor plants or balconies. They can be grown in direct soil if the climate is optimal. They make quite an attractive addition to cactus and succulent gardens.

An advantage of Euphorbia lactea cristata is that they are not particularly demanding regarding the substrate or its pH. This substrate can be a cactus one with a neutral or slightly acidic pH. The only thing they do not tolerate is the muddy and damp soil. When planting, it is favorable to add a little organic matter or fertilizer to the hole where it will be buried to keep the plant nourished and thrive.

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata
A picture of euphorbia lactea cristata @shajan_plant_journal

Weather Conditions

It is necessary to grow the crest plant in an environment with a warm temperature; it also needs direct light exposure to the Sun for a few hours a day. The ideal time is the first in the morning. It is not convenient for it to be exposed to sunlight for many hours a day. However, being able to tolerate it during the summer. So at these times, it is recommended to keep it in semi-shade. Euphorbia lactea cristata does not tolerate extreme cold. Thus it should not be exposed to temperatures below 50ºF.

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The regularity of the fertilization of the Euphorbia lactea cristata will depend on the soil’s condition. If we put it in our garden, we can mix humus, fine clay, and coarse-grained sand to use as a home substrate. However, it is vital to mention that we should not use peat in this mixture to cause the pH to be excessively acidic for this plant. If it is in ordinary soil, a monthly fertilizer must be enough for it during spring and summer. And for this task, we can use a mineral fertilizer which is used for any cactus. On the other hand, if you grow them in pots without substrate or in an area with poor soils. We must fertilize them monthly with a medium concentration fertilizer. When it has reached a size too large for its current pot, or, too long has passed since it was last transplanted, we should change it in the springtime to provide fresh soil. However, being a very slow-growing and consuming plant may not be necessary for long periods.

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Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia lactea cristata does not handle long periods of drought well. This species may need weekly watering during the warm summer seasons, but we should only water when the substrate is dry. We must avoid having too wet soil. At the time of irrigation, we can use plenty of water, but we cannot let the ground stay too wet, as this can cause root rot. To avoid this scenario, the soil or pot in which it is located must have good drainage. It is best to reduce watering at the time of the winter seasons if you are outdoors and indoors considerably, water once a month at most to avoid any damage from low temperatures. Maintaining controlled irrigation, in general, is crucial for Euphorbia lactea cristata. Many plants of this type tend to die more from excessive irrigation than from lack of it.

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How to Grow Them?

Euphorbia lactea cristata grows from seed. But it cannot be easy to germinate or even find. So one method that is most often used to propagate this plant is by cuttings. Even grafting, in the springtime. These cuttings should be dipped in the hormonal powder. Although it is unnecessary as the key to a successful desensitization process is heat and good air circulation. We must leave them for 3 to 4 weeks until they are insensitive, and then we must plant them. Collecting the cuttings or trying to graft this plant can be a complicated task due to its exudes.

Effects On Human Body

The sap of Euphorbia lactea cristata is toxic and irritating. It can affect a very negative way, inflaming the mucous membranes and skin that comes into contact with it. So it is vital to prevent it from coming into contact with the skin, eyes, nose, or mouth, even capable of causing blindness. The plant secretes this milky and white sap, better known as latex when it suffers some damage to its structure since it serves as protection against predators and is poisonous and irritating to close wounds. If this latex gets to touch our skin, we must wash with water as quickly as possible since it is not soluble in water if it dries it. If it becomes dry before we can clean it, we can use greasy solutions such as milk or skin cream to remove it and calm the burning. In the case of contact with the eyes or mucous membranes, we should consult a doctor immediately.

It is highly recommended to use gloves while handling the plant. Especially through doing processes such as transplanting or cutting. We must ensure adequate ventilation in the work area with the plant to avoid latex vapors as sensitive people can even react to these. Ingestion of latex can cause nausea and vomiting, so Euphorbia must be kept out of children’s reach.

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The primary disease affecting Euphorbia lactea cristata is root rot due to overwatering or constant flooding of the roots. These excesses of humidity generate fungi in the seeds that can kill the plant quickly. Therefore it is vital to ensure good drainage. Another problem that it can present is pests. If the mealybug infestation’s presence begins to be noticed. We must proceed to wash with a damp cloth. Being quite careful about the plague. If the area is severely affected and washing is not enough. Proceed with a commercial insecticide for this purpose and proceed to treat the plant. It is essential to treat this plague quickly since, in addition to weakening our plant, it attracts fungi that can damage or kill the plant. In cases where this pest is extreme, we can change the pot and the soil, or product, to avoid future spread.

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Posted in Succulents