Crown of Thorns

August 22, 2016 admin

Botanical Name: Euphorbia milii 

Height: 2-3′
Width: 12-18″
Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
Performance: Annual/Tender Perennial
Bloom: Pink

Euphorbia milii is a novelty. The variety ‘Pink Cadillac’ has coral pink blooms that last for months. Native to Madagascar, E. milii forms thick thorny stems that store water in case of drought. In the landscape, a mild north Texas winter will cause the euphorbia to drop its leaves before flushing out next spring. Over time the multi-branched stems grow taller with the leaves and flowers emerging on the top growth, exposing its gnarly thick thorns.
Flowers are more abundant if the plant is provided with ample sunlight. However, full sun during summer can cause heat-stress and turn the leaves yellow. Provide it with afternoon shade to avoid this stress. It will not withstand harsh north Texas winters, but performs well in containers that can be moved inside during freezing temperatures. Crown of Thorns’ long bloom time and slow growth rate also make it a showy annual. Keep in mind the sap from this plant is toxic and should be avoided.
Legend has it that Christ wore a crown of thorns made from the stems of E. milii, hence the common name. Evidence supports that this plant was brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ.
The species milii honors Baron Milius who once governed the Island of Bourbon, known today as Reunion Island, which is off the east coast of Madagascar. In 1821, Baron Milius introduced E. Milii into French cultivation.