The Crested Green Coral Succulent

Have you ever come across a plant that looks creepy but at the same time inviting? A plant that coils and curls itself around its habitat like a snake getting comfortable for a nap. The more you stare at it, the more you believe it belongs in a sci-fi movie about creatures from the future. If you have not seen it, may we suggest you have a look at the magnificent Crested Green Coral succulent.

The exceedingly rare and highly sought after Crested Green Coral Succulent has its roots in Africa. Its original habitat has been around the Eastern Cape, on the border to the former Transkei state, Kei Mouth, Mazeppa Bay, and Komgha districts in South Africa. The plant is scientifically known as Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata and belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae.

The Succulent Named After Medusa

Known for its striking nature, this arresting house plant comes in two main varieties due to a genetic mutation in the plant’s structure. There are two types of cristata form. The caudex cristation grows with a central shoot that forms a snaky fan-shaped ridge with cylindrical lateral shoots protruding from it. The other species called branch cristation forms with a lateral shoot only and large pad-like leaves.

The first thing you notice about this succulent is the thick and curled, fan-shaped branches with deep green stems that protrude from the plant-like tentacles. The central stem merges into roots forming a tuberous body or caudex. This enticing pattern is what gives this succulent the name Crested Medusa’s Head. It also resembles something that should be at the bottom of the sea, hence the name Green Coral. As the plant grows, it creates a cushion-like mass with the lateral root snaking around the succulent.

The ‘tentacles’ sticking out of the plant are soft and narrow, and they inconspicuously develop fragrant chartreuse flowers in the spring. A full-grown Green Coral succulent can get to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) wide. When under the sun’s full glare, the plant takes on a bronze color while during the winter, it can turn into a deep red hue.

Caring for the Crested Green Coral Succulent

The Green Coral loves to bask in the sun and will appreciate some light shade. For the plant to thrive, it requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day. They are not big fans of the winter and would need to be kept indoors. They are a little sensitive and should be gradually introduced to the sun after the cold months; otherwise, they will suffer from sunburn.

This succulent does relish a fast-draining soil mix with extra pumice, grit, or perlite. Like most succulents, these plants are not water babies, and they cannot tolerate being wet. They can comfortably last through the winter with minimal watering and should be offered a drink once a week during the summer.

As the mother plant matures, it produces pups at the ends of the tentacles. The plant gets a bump or slight swelling at the end of an arm, and it gradually grows into its caudex and arms. If they are unable to find a spot to root, the new arm will shrivel to allow the pup to roll away from the main plant. If the pup gets access to soil and water, it multiplies and can cause an infestation of Medusa heads. The best time to propagate the Crested Green Coral succulent is during the summer.

Be Wary of the Crested Medusa Head

Just like the Greek legend of Medusa, this succulent comes with a word of caution. The leaves of the Crested Green Coral succulent produce a milky sap that can be poisonous. The sap has been known to cause adverse reactions when it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. Plant owners with curious pets should be particularly careful as this succulent can be toxic if ingested. The plant rarely needs pruning or maintenance, but one should be cautious and wear gloves and goggles when handling this succulent.


The Crested Green Coral Succulent is an intimidating plant and certainly not for the faint-hearted. It does not ask for much, just sunlight and a drink of water once a week. If left unattended for long periods, it tends to grow out of its pot and spread around the room. Other than that, this is one succulent every green thumb must see at least once in their lifetime.

Rhipsalis Cereuscula

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Introduction

Rhipsalis Cereuscula is a hanging cactus, also called a coral cactus. It is a perennial plant that lives for several years; it can also reach about 50 centimeters; This plant is from South American countries. It is made up of cylindrical stems that grow leaning on other plants, but not parasitically, only using these as support, and blooms producing white flowers gathered in clusters.

This plant needs a location with soil that can filter well to prevent water and moisture from accumulating. If kept indoors, it can withstand relatively high temperatures during the summer months.

The plant is tropical and usually grows in bright areas but not in direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight exposes the plant very slowly. We should not place it in a place too close to a window as it can suffer burns from the Sun, but it must be sufficiently illuminated. If kept in the garden, it is advisable to move it to more shady places during heat waves or high temperatures.

When planting it in a pot, we must fill it with some orchid compound, made up mostly of bark pieces, and it is essential to choose a vase with holes in its base, to allow the water to drain effectively. If you want to plant directly in the garden, we must make a hole and fill it with the same orchid compound, always caring that the soil has good drainage to drown our Rhipsalis Cereuscula.

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Image: IG@la_plantguy

Watering for the Plant


Hanging cacti require moderate watering, being ideal for watering it every day, or even two days, in between, since if it is watered daily or when the soil is still wet, it is possible that it suffers from excess water.

The soil or compost allowed to dry out completely and should be watered 3-4 times a week. During colder times, it should only be necessary to water it 1-2 times a week. Something advisable is to keep the irrigation limited to the rains, of course, if you live in a warm area with frequent showers.

If a rainy season begins, it is advisable to move it not to develop excess water. The irrigation frequency is necessary only when the soil dries completely, if plant kept indoors.

We must always avoid wetting its leaves directly when watering it, and if the pot has a plate underneath, we must often remove all excess water to prevent our plant from rotting.

Fertilization

So that our Rhipsalis Cereuscula can grow correctly and healthily, we must fertilize it approximately once a month from early spring to late summer. We can use a liquid or granulated fertilizer, being imperative to follow all the indications to the letter, since when using fertilizers, there is the risk of causing an overdose by burning the roots and killing our little cactus.

It is possible to multiply our Rhipsalis Cereuscula through seeds or cuttings during the spring or early summer. If you want to use seedlings, we must sow them in pots that are quite wide; they must be filled with some orchid compound and moistened, the seeds are planted trying to leave a good separation between them; finally, they are covered with a little more compound. Let them germinate, somewhere where they are kept at a warm temperature, for about two weeks. Another faster and easier way to multiply it is using cuttings. To do this, we must cut a branch of the plant, let it dry for a few days, plant it in soil or composed of orchids, water it, and voila, a new Rhipsalis Cereuscula will soon begin to grow.

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Fertilizing Cacti: IG@karinnazarate

Growth of Plant

The plant tends to grow a lot. Therefore it may be necessary to transplant it rather than keeping in small pots. The Rhipsalis Cereuscula generates very few roots in a shallow way; these should not be difficult to manipulate at transplantation. An ideal time to do this is during their growing season in spring or early summer. To do this, we have to remove the cactus, carefully clean its roots and place it in the new pot, taking care not to hurt its roots.

During the spring, once the cactus is mature, it will begin to produce some sporadic spines on its upper stems, these spines do not last long on the plant and tend to fall off on their own. It also makes some relatively small white flowers, which only last a few days on the plant. They grow on the lateral parts of the highest branches and are quite cute. After they wilt, the cactus develops whitish fruits that remain on the cactus for several weeks. Pruning is also beneficial for Rhipsalis Cereuscula, and this can help it grow and gain volume. After winter, it is usually ideal for carrying out these since the plant usually enters its growth stage healthily and regularly once the end and spring of the low temperature begin.

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Image: Reddit@u/mottephobic

Conclusion

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These plants are quite resistant in general; they only have a particular weakness for cold, humid climates and low temperatures. Being native of tropical climates, we must keep this plant in a temperate and warm environment to avoid damage by low temperatures. As for pests, this plant is also resistant to many problems. But we have to protect it from animals such as snails and slugs. Lack of proper care will make you suffer from infestation. Something that usually attracts these pests is root rots resulting from too constant watering.

Rhipsalis Cereuscula is an ideal plant to grow indoors in hot and humid climates, thanks to the fact that its buds can hang out over time, it does not become too bulky, and it can be easily located inside the home. It is a cactus that is relatively easy to care for and multiply.

We only have to be careful in the cold and winter seasons, due to its tropical origin, this cactus is not resistant to these environments and can even die if exposed to it for too long. In these seasons, we must keep our cactus in a dry and warm place inside the house, trying to give it as much indirect sunlight as possible during the day.