Getting To Know The Fabulous Succulent ‘Euphorbia Lactea’

Euphorbia lactea, also known as “Dragon Bone Tree,” is a succulent plant native to the warm, tropical regions of the Asian continent, mainly India and Sri Lanka. It also occurs in Florida and other tropical areas of the world. Thanks to its ornamental value and easy cultivation, it has been introduced around the world. It is able to create dense bushes when left to grow in the wild. The “Dragon Bone Tree” plant is a bright, highly branched, 3-sided, succulent, and markedly ringed plant with a very whitish and green ornamental marbling. Something important to note is that all parts of the Milky Euphorbia are considered poisonous, especially the milky sap that it expels when injured.

As it grows, the “Dragon Bone Tree” becomes a tall, dark green, highly branched, and thorny shrub with a distinctive silhouette that grows up to 12 feet tall or more. This is a height that it only reaches in the wild, it very rarely does it while in home cultivation. Its stems are upright, about 2 inches in diameter, constricted into oblong green segments. These segments’ center is conspicuously pale, often with marked marbled white and lime green ornamental color.

This plant has few leaves, developing only the slightest sign of leaves at the tips of growth in summer. These are rudimentary, circular, reddish, and deciduous. It is also covered by tiny but sharp paired spines, widely divergent along the margins. It is a plant with, particularly slow growth. Because it develops better in warm climates and temperatures, its period of active growth is during the last months of spring and summer.

Euphorbia Lactea Care

Temperature

In itself, the care of the “Dragon bone tree” makes it an easy-to-maintain plant. We have to place it in a sunny position to grow properly, but it must be protected from frost as ice quickly damages the stems. If we live in an area where winters are cold, we must keep it in a very bright room and away from drafts.

The “Dragon bone tree”, being a plant from tropical climates, is not resistant to low temperatures, being tolerant only up to 42 ° F. On the other hand, it grows exceptionally in humid and warm climates. It is a plant that can be grown in a pot. In fact, it is the most recommended thanks to its growth. However, it is also possible to grow it in direct soil in the garden.

The necessary sun exposure required by the “Dragon Bone Tree” means that we can keep it in full sun or semi-shade. Due to its variegated shape, it should be protected from the intense direct sun the hottest hours of the day, especially in the summer times.

Growth

We must provide the watering to our “Dragon bones tree” must be relatively constant. On the other hand, we must let the substrate be completely dry before watering again. We should water it about three times a week during the hot summer seasons, especially during its times of active growth. In winter, it might be better not to water them practically at all. We must entirely suspend watering or, failing that, restrict it to just one time during winter. The proper substrate for growing the “Dragon Bone Tree” should be a mixture of equal parts, clay, and sand. It should be ideally porous and well-drained.

To fertilize the “Dragon bone tree”, we can use a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water approximately every 15 days. If we use organic fertilizer, the amount will depend on the format we select. This process should be carried out during the growing months of the Euphorbia lactea. We should even give it a less strong dose during the beginning of autumn. When the “Dragon Bone Tree” is grown in greenhouses, it is rarely affected by fungal diseases. However, its low resistance to water stagnations makes its roots easy to rot if not properly cared for.

Euphorbia Lactea Growth

We must bear in mind that the “Dragon bone tree” being a plant that can reach large sizes, we must change it to a larger pot every two years or less. You should carry out this activity during the spring, where we can also take advantage of and prune our plant. We must also avoid pruning too much for a short time not to affect our plant’s growth. We can also extract cuttings from the main stem. After allowing these to dry, we can plant them in a new pot to multiply our Euphorbia lactea.

Reproducing the “Dragon Bone Tree” is relatively straightforward. It is propagated by cuttings or cuttings, while the variegated and crested forms are difficult to grow on their roots, and they are usually grafted. We recommend taking the cuttings during spring or summer. That’s when the plant is growing to have a better chance of success. The key to its success is heat and good air circulation.

We can keep the cuttings inside powdered hormones to ensure that they will succeed in rooting. To be fair, it is not a fundamental step when reproducing this plant. If we decide to do this, we must leave them within the hormones a minimum of three weeks. After this time, it will be ready to plant in a pot and water. It is essential that it not be watered abundantly (keep slightly humid) until the cutting is well-rooted. These will root very well if we place the pot outside during the summer.

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Conclusion

When handling this plant, whether in pruning or transplanting, a strong warning is that, as with all other Euphorbias varieties, when a plant receives damage, it secretes a thick white milky liquid. This is a sage better known as latex. Latex of this type is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, the skin and the mucous membranes. It turns out to be extremely irritating and painful for the mucosa’s tissues. Latex is capable of causing quite painful inflammation. It can even cause a temporary state of blindness if it touches the eyes.

We must take special precautions with this plant when keeping it at home with young children or in any handling process where it secretes said latex. It is recommended to work in ventilated places since even the vapors that it exudes can be dangerous, and to use gloves every time we are going to handle our “Dragon bone tree.”

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