The Crown of Thorns plant is a flowering plant that originated in Madagascar as a native plant. The lovely plant got introduced to the country of France in the first part of the 19th century. It has since become popular throughout the world as a vibrant indoor plant. It also grows wild in Thailand. It’s also known as the Christ Thorn or the Christ Plant. It’s not difficult to grow this plant, but there are a few things you must know, to get the best results. Here is everything you need to know about caring for your Crown of Thorns plant.
Description of the Crown of Thorns Plant
The Spruce confirms that the Crown of Thorns is a succulent plant with the botanical name Euphorbia Milii in the Euphorbiaceae family. It grows to a height of 3 to 6 feet tall outside and up to 2 feet tall when grown indoors. The plant can bloom nearly year-round under the proper care. The leaves are bright green and thick and fleshy. They grow along new stems, but there are usually thorns among the leaves. The blooms emerge in small green blossoms with lovely bracts of white, yellow, pink, orange, or red. The plant grows slowly. It’s essential to keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets as it is poisonous to humans and animals.
Where can you grow Crown of Thorns Plants?
Crown of Thorns plants may be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. When grown outdoors it grows into a woody shrub. This plant is a perennial in zones 9, 10, and 11, where the climate is warmer. It can be grown indoors anywhere as long as the temperature is kept at a constant temperature. When grown outdoors, the plant must be brought inside if the temperature outside drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s best to grow them in containers outdoors if you are outside of the hardiness zones.
Varieties of Crown of Thorns
Horticulturalists developed several hybridizations of the Crown of Thorns plants. The most popular varieties are the more colorful versions. The Maxi Zephyr blooms with bell-shaped blossoms in apricot colors. The Short and Sweet is a dwarf variety that grows 12 to 18 inches tall with red blooms. The Creme Supreme has white flowers and strappy leaves. The Brush Fire Crown of Thorns has bright red flowers and thick fleshy leaves. The Maxim Pink Cadillac offers coral-pink blooms. The Splendens Crown of Thorns is the larger variety that can reach 5 to 6 feet in height with red blooms. The Red Gundula has pinkish-red blooms. Other Calfornia hybrids with thicker stems and larger flowers are called Giant Crown of Thorns, including the Saturnus and Rosalie cultivars.
Crown of Thorns plants requires exposure to sunlight. it’s best to place the houseplants in a sunny window that receives a minimum of three to four hours of direct sunlight each day. When grown outdoors, locations that receive full sun are the best.
Soil and water
Crown of Thorns grows best when using a cactus and succulent potting mix for indoor containers. Use containers that are a few inches larger than the root ball to avoid retention of water in the container. These plants are highly susceptible to root rot if exposed to too much moisture. They require excellent drainage. Containers should have multiple holes in the bottom. You can plant outdoors in an area with good drainage in the appropriate hardiness zones. The Crown of Thorns does not require a lot of water. For indoor plants, check the soil with your finger. When it feels dry at an inch below the top, it’s time to water the plant, but allow the excess water to drain. Allow the plant to dry before watering, and cut down on the amount of water during its semi-dormant period in the winter.
How to propagate Crown of Thorn plants
Crown of Thorns may be grown from seed or cuttings. It’s more difficult to grow them from seeds because the viability is short and it tasks months for them to germinate. It’s faster and easier to grow new plants from cuttings. Master Class suggests cutting a stem three to six inches from the tip with leaves. Dry cut the ends and remove all but a few leaves from the top. Let the cuttings sit in a dry, cool place until the ends of the cuttings form a callus. It may take one to two days. If you plant fresh cuttings before the callus forms, they will likely develop root rot. When the callus forms, set the cuttings in a mixture of compost, sand, and peat. Grow the new plant in a 4-6 inch pot with the ned of other cuttings buried and upright, firmly in the soil. Water the plant until established, without overwatering.
Humidity and temperature
Crown of Thorns plants thrives in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate dry environments well. These plants are tolerant of neglect and can do well with little water and moisture in the air.
Crown of Thorns do best when they receive a liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Apply liquid fertilizer formulated for cactus and succulents every few weeks throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Cut the fertilizer in half by diluting it during the winter months.
How to pot and re-pot Crown of Thorns plants
You should wear gloves when handling the Crown of Thorns plants. The thorns can pierce your skin, but the substance it secretes can cause skin irritation and it is poisonous if ingested. Repot these plants every two years. Remove the plant from the old pot, gently loosen the roots with gloved hands, and place in a new pot with a two-inch larger size using a cactus potting mix. Water after repotting, and allow excess water to drain. Handle the plant by its leaves and the root ball to avoid getting stuck by the thorns.
Crown of Thorns plants requires some pruning to encourage leaf growth and avoid leggy stems. You may also prune the Crown of Thorns to maintain an attractive shape. After pruning, spray water on the wound areas to stop the sap flow.
Known issues with the Crown of Thorns
The Crown of Thorns is a hardy plant, but there are a few pests that can become a problem. Thrips, mealybugs, and scale are the most common. You can apply insecticide to prevent infestations. Another common issue is fungal disease and root rot. Allow the soil to dry in between waterings to prevent these problems. If the leaves turn yellow, you may need to water the plant more often. It could also indicate poor soil quality or sudden temperature changes that cause shock. The plant may shed leaves if the environment is too hot or dry. This plant blooms best when it gets total darkness at night. Over-fertilizing can also prevent blooms and promote leaf growth. If your plant isn’t blooming, cut down on the amount of fertilizer.
Encouraging more blooms
Gardening Know How reports that in Thailand, the Crown of Thorns foretells the luck that the owner will have by the number of blooms. To see larger blooms and more flowers, prune the leaves. Avoid cutting into the bloom stock. Keep the cuttings in sunny locations but not too hot, cut back on fertilizer, and maintain consistent warm temperatures. Place the plant in total darkness at night and it should sport blooms more often than not.
The Crown of Thorns is a gorgeous plant when grown indoors or outside. The thorns and sap are toxic, so care is required to keep them away from pets and children. It’s not difficult to grow this lovely succulent if you know the care basics.