See This Beautiful Succulent ‘Euphorbia Ritchiei’

The Euphorbia Ritchiei is also known as Monadenium Ritchiei; it is a succulent member of the Euphorbiaceae Family. It’s a plant that grows naturally in its native home, Kenya, around Meru, in the country’s Eastern region. It grows mainly on the rocky slopes of Mt. Kenya at an elevation of 1300 m above sea level.

Physical Characteristics of Euphorbia Ritchiei

Roots

This dwarf clumping perennial succulent blooms all year round, and it has a long life when the conditions are right. Euphorbia Ritchiei has a thick flesh rootstock that, over time, forms a large clump. The roots form thick tubers, which help to store food. While they play the same role as caudex, these tubers are different from the caudex.

Stem

One of the exciting things is his thick green, erect stem. The stems are decumbent with small spines which can grow up to 2 feet tall and 1.2 inches in diameter. These spines are one of the typical characteristics of Euphorbia genus.

Leaves

Euphorbia Ritchiei is one of the genus plants with dense foliage. Each leaf emerges alone from tubercles near the stem tip, and it has cream veins that stand out. The prominence of the leave’s veins is because the cream is lighter than the pigmentation of the rest of the leaf blade. Younger leaves usually have light brown specs. 

The leaves are connected directly to the stem, without a stalk, and they are broadly obovate. The direct connection to the stem causes them to remain primarily fixed so that they don’t flap in the wind as the leaves of other plants typically do.   

Flowers

When Euphorbia Ritchiei flowers, you can expect a hot pink color at the tip of the stem. The bright pink inflorescence resembles a U-shaped flower known as a Cyathium. The Cyathia are produced in small clusters near the stem tip, and it is in them that the flowers bloom. Having cyathia is one of the typical characteristics of plants in the Euphorbia genus.

This succulent blooms in the spring, and the flowers provide a beautiful decoration for your home. The decorative effects of the plant are not only from the flowers but also from other features of the plant. It is an excellent addition to your collection of plants, especially if you have it kept in a colorful pot.

Toxicity of Euphorbia Ritchiei

The Euphorbia Ritchiei is quite poisonous. It produces copious amounts of white sap, commonly known as lumber, and it can cause blindness if it gets into the eyes. The skin can blister if the sap gets into them, and it causes sickness when ingested. Keep the plant out of reach of children and pets and take due care when grooming or otherwise handling the plant.

Euphorbia Ritchiei Care

Lighting and placement

The Euphorbia Ritchiei requires full sunlight, the more intense, the better. When grown outside, however, they need partial shade in the afternoon hours, especially during hot summer months.

An excess of sunlight can have fatal consequences, especially during summer, when located outdoor. The intensity of sunlight usually determines the plant’s pigmentation.

If you have it indoors, place the succulent plant near a lighted window, usually southern and western windows. Of course, you want your plant to thrive and bring about its beautifying pink effect that any enthusiast of succulent plants would love. Thus proper lighting and a lot of it is required whether you plant it indoors or outdoors.

This plant prefers warmer temperatures throughout as cold temperatures may kill it. The lowest temperatures under which Euphorbia Ritchiei can survive in regions of 4.4 degrees Celsius.

This plant will be better taken care of indoors for those in cold areas. Alternatively, you can grow it in a pot outdoors and then move it indoors in winter. The best place to keep a young plant is indoors because it provides the necessary cover to protect it.

Soil

They grow well with a layer of brick and charcoal pieces on top of which sandy-loam soil is spread. The key is to keep the plant growing on well-drained soil because it dies of root rot if it grows in waterlogged soil.

For indoor plants, the pots in which they are to be kept should allow for proper drainage. You can use a cactus mix and blend it with pumice, ground coconut shells, or something else to enhance the soil’s ability to drain. Another option is to plant in peat mixed with perlite in equal parts. Any mix that will ensure proper drainage is preferable. Euphorbia ritchiei is not particular about its soil pH; it can grow in both acidic and bare soil.

Watering

It is better to be cautious about how it is watered; it is better to be short on watering than to over-water the plant as it rots quickly. However, it is necessary to water the plant to grow healthy. Watering is incredibly delicate in summer because it is easy for you to assume the plant needs more water. Check if the soil still has moisture from the previous drink before watering it again. Avoid watering if there is still moisture in the soil.

The best way of watering this succulent is the soak-and-dry method. Watering in winter is often unnecessary, but you may need to give it a drink once in a while. The type of pot in which you plant this succulent is essential for watering. This is because the pot determines whether the water will get off the soil and lead to waterlogging whether the soil is well-draining.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer is required when the plant is actively growing or when the soil being used is of a low quality. This is most common in new growers. You can use compost to supplement nutrients in the plant.

You can use any specific fertilizer for cacti and succulents. The general rule of the thumb is that the fertilizer should be diluted in water at half strength. Diluting the fertilizer is necessary to keep the plant from suffering to avoid chemical burns because it reduces the buildup of heavy salts in the soil.

Feed the plant every 15 days or once a month in spring and summer because they are growing seasons. Less than this would leave the plant malnourished, and any more fertilizer could cause chemical burns on the stem.

Pruning and grooming

This plant does not require much maintenance except to ensure that you repot it every three years. The transplant is done during the summer months. Other than that, it does not require any pruning except to remove some dead branches.

Pests and diseases

This plant, like other euphorbias, is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Prevention is the best pest control method for your succulents. If you can get the pests to stay away from your plant, your plants will be healthier and your work easier. You can keep pests and diseases from the plant by keeping it healthy, pruning it, and dry. Also, you can keep the plant safe from pests by applying neem oil. Neem oil is a systemic pesticide that makes the succulent unpalatable to pests.

You can also use organic pesticides such as hot pepper spray, garlic spray, and biological controls such as introducing predators that eat the pests. Other simple ways of getting rid of these pests include rubbing the infected areas with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. The alcohol should have at least 70% concentration. Spraying the infested plant with a water mixture and liquid soap or pesticide soap also helps.

Root rot is the most common disease, and prevention by using well-draining soil and watering as per recommendations.

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Propagating Euphorbia Ritchiei

You can propagate this plant through cuttings, grafting, offsets, and seeds.

The most common form of propagation for succulents is called vegetative propagation. This involves cuttings, where several inches of stem with leaves are cut, allowing some time to heal and, after healing, produce a callus.

After a week or so, roots should grow. Another method is the division which involves uprooting an overgrown clump and pulling the stems and hearts apart. The easiest method is to allow the formation of a callus from a leaf or segment offsets.

It would help if you had the following things, so put them together before starting.

  1. A sharp cutting tool such as a knife or hand pruner
  2. Alcohol wipes, methylated or surgical spirit, and cotton wool
  3. Three-inch pots depending on the number of plants you want to propagate
  4. Well-drained soil
  5. Heavy gloves and goggles

Take the following steps for successful propagation.

  1. Put on your gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes from the toxic milky sap that will run from the plant.
  2. Take your cutting tool, and wipe it with alcohol wipes or otherwise sterilize it. Sterilizing the instrument is an integral part of the process as it ensures neither the daughter nor mother plant gets infected with any disease that might be on the tool.
  3. Cut one of the spreading branches at the base with your now sterilized tool. The cutting should be about 15 to 20cm long and wait a few days for it to callous.
  4. Rinse the cutting and the wound on the mother plant to stop them from oozing sap. Coldwater causes the sap to thicken fast.
  5. Once the cut is closed off, plant the Euphorbia ritchiei in well-draining soil and water lightly. You should be vigilant not to let the soil be ever arid.
propagation of euphorbia ritchiei
Propagating Euphorbia ritchiei
Photo by Reddit

Propagation by grafting

You can cut off the head of the succulent using clean scissors. Leave a few inches to the base to stay on the safe side. There should be enough stem on the cutting. Wait for a few minutes before replanting to dry the cutting and the base. When the cutting is calloused, replant it. Don’t forget to water when the soil dries out.

Propagation from offsets

 To be able to propagate from the mother plant, it might take several years for the main plant to produce an offset. Use a sharp knife and remove an offset from the main plant to start this process. When the offset is first removed, clean the extra soil out.

 Before replanting, please wait for a few days to allow it to dry off. Use well-draining soil for the new succulent plant. And do not forget to water when the soil dries out.

Propagation by using seeds

This succulent grows slowly, and even when the possibility of propagating from seed is available, it is not recommended. To propagate using seeds, plant the seeds in a well-draining soil mixture. In more excellent areas, indoor propagating is recommended.

Our Take on Euphorbia Ritchiei

This beautiful succulent is a must-have for enthusiasts as it needs very little care as it matures. It is also stunning with vibrant colors of hot pink and lush green. Like all Euphorbia, this plant is poisonous as the milky sap it oozes is a skin and eye irritant. Thus a degree of caution is advised when dealing with this plant.

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Posted in Succulents