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 are known as 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. This plant’s most common crest color is typically dark green, marked with quite striking silver-grey zigzag patterns.
- Sunlight: needs direct light exposure to the sun for a few hours.
- Watering: avoid having too much water because this can cause root rot.
- Temperature: warm temperature.
- Propagation: propagated from seeds and cuttings.
- Toxicity: sap of this plant can affect the human body.
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 on balconies or 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 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 thriving.
It is necessary to grow the crest plant in an environment with a warm temperature below 50ºF; 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 to be exposed to sunlight for many hours a day. However, being able to tolerate it during the summer. So at these times, keep it in semi-shade. Euphorbia Lactea Cristata does not tolerate extreme cold.
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 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 as an option.
On the other hand, if you grow them in pots without substrate or in an area with poor soil. 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.
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 only 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 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.
Effects On Human Body
The sap of Euphorbia Lactea Cristata is toxic and irritating. It can affect in 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 it 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 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 we must keep Euphorbia out of children’s reach.
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 begins, 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 plants, 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.
Euphorbia Lactea Cristata can be grown from seed, but it can be difficult to germinate or even find, so one method most often used to propagate this plant is cuttings, or even grafts, in the springtime. Euphorbia Lactea Cristata rarely flowers, and when it flowers, it is unlikely that the flowers would produce seed.
These cuttings should be dipped in hormonal powder, although it is unnecessary as heat and good air circulation are critical to a successful desensitization process. We must leave them for 3 to 4 weeks until they are insensitive, and then we must plant them.
Propagation by Grafting
The difficulties in propagating the plant using seeds leave plant parents with only one viable option; grafting. It is the only realistic way of propagating Euphorbia Lactie Cristata. You propagate it by grafting its cutting to Euphorbia Neriifolia or Euphorbia Canariensis. The grafting process is relatively straightforward; you can do it as follows.
First, you must remember that Euphorbia Lactea Cristata produces poisonous sap when injured. You need protective gear to protect your skin and eyes and should wear safety goggles and gloves.
Cut your Euphorbia Lacteal Cristata into a V-shaped tip and a complementary V into a branch of the plant you are grafting. The two Vs should be equal in size, so you should seek to graft your cutting into a branch of equal size. Ensure you use a sharp tool like shears or a knife to cut both sections. You can sterilize both to ensure your plant gets healthy.
You must repot the plant occasionally, especially when it has outgrown the pot. You can tell that your coral cacti need repotting if you find them becoming top-heavy or root bound. Also, it is usually advisable to repot the plant after buying it from a nursery. Some nurseries grow the plant in their stock on the correct substrate, but you can’t be sure.
You could also repot if you notice your substrate has become depleted of nutrients or lost its porosity due to the soil being continually broken down by the plant. Pick a pot with draining holes to repot and ensure it is at least 10% bigger than the previous one if you are repotting due to an overgrown plant. A breathable pot is preferable, so if you can find an unglazed terracotta pot, it would give your plant the best environment to grow.
To ensure sufficient porosity, the pottage should be a 50/50 mix of an ordinary cactus mix and sand. You need to remove the succulent from its old pot by running a slender tool like a spatula between the pot and the substrate to pry the old substrate from the pot. You should turn the pot over and catch the plant in your hand if it is not too big. Lay the pot on its side, gently tag on the plant, and pull it out. Remove the substrate on the roots and plant the succulent shallowly into the new substrate. Plant shallowly, only burying the roots and pressing the substrate down for anchorage. Water and allow it to grow. Summer is the best time to repot because it is the succulent growing season.
Euphorbia Lactea Cristata is a unique, beautiful plant that is relatively easy to keep. Ensure it is well watered, and be careful when handling it due to its toxicity. You should keep it away from pets and children to keep them safe.
More reads on Succulent City:
Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!