Information About Crown Of Thorns Plants

Information About Crown Of Thorns Plants

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Crown Of Thorns Plant Froze: Can A Crown Of Thorns Survive A Freeze

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Native to Madagascar, crown of thorns is a desert plant suitable for growing in the warm climates of USDA plant hardiness zones 9b through 11. Can a crown of thorns plant survive a freeze? Learn more about dealing with crown of thorns cold damage in this article.

Cutting Back Crown Of Thorns: How To Prune A Crown Of Thorns Plant

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Most types of crown of thorns have a natural, branching growth habit, so extensive crown of thorns pruning isn?t generally needed. However, some fast-growing or bushier types may benefit from pruning or thinning. Click here to learn the basics of pruning crown of thorns.

Crown Of Thorns Plant Propagation – How To Propagate Crown Of Thorns

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Crown of thorns plant propagation is generally through cuttings, which is a fast method of establishing the plant. They can produce seed if they bloom, but germination is fickle and it is much easier to establish plants from cuttings. This article will help.

Q. Crown of Thorns Plant

My plant is different than most in that the leaves are larger and thicker. I've had it for 20+ years and each spring I would cut it down and replant because during the winter the lower leaves would fall and not grow back. It always came back and would be beautiful during the summer, fall and some of the winter. A couple years ago I did the same thing, but this time 5 shoots came out and all produced beautiful flowers. It was the most beautiful plant I have ever seen. Five weeks ago I want away for two weeks and left my plant with a friend. I didn't realized that she had no direct sunlight into her home. When I got back almost all the leaves on each shoot fell off. I was so disappointed. I have cut each shoot off and potted them in half peat moss and perlite. They have all taken. What should I transplant them into and what can I do to get new shoots on each plant. Please help me.

Wow, what a journey of this amazing plant.

Good for you for not giving up!
This article will help you.

How to Grow Crown of Thorns Plant?

Euphorbia plants are popular houseplants of your garden. These plants may vary in hardy temperate zones. Here is the step by step procedure to grow crown of thorns starting from seeds.

Crown of Thorn Plant Information

Scientific Name : Euphorbia milii

Soil : Well-drain fertile soil with 6-7.5

Sunlight : Full sun to partial shade

Flowers : Red, pink, white, yellow

Fertilizers : N-P-K fertilizer, Baking soda

Harvesting Time : 1-2 years

Choose a Seed Variety

Select a silver leaf seed variety that is well suited to grow in a sunny location. Euphorbia myrsinites and euphorbia rigida varieties are good to grow to start from seeds. Variegated Euphorbia looks best in bright places if they grow in warmer climates.

Pot & Soil

Choose a pot of size 6-8 inches tall to start growing from seeds. The pot is made up of clay or ceramic and has holes at the bottom to drain water completely.

Euphorbia plants are tolerant to low-quality soils and usually prefer well-drain soil so that the air can circulate within the roots. Either you can prepare soil or buy from a nursery store containing 2 parts soil and 1 part peat moss, sand, and perlite.

Water & Sunlight

Provide them light moisture by supplying sufficient amount of water to the plants. It helps to prevent the powdery mildew disease when watered under the plant roots.

Euphorbia plants thrive quickly when the room temperature is between 65-75F. These plants can withstand if the temperature is below 50F in winter season and 90F in the summer season. Seeds germinate slowly and may take 2-3 weeks to month time. These plants do not like disturbing the roots so the best place to grow them pots.

Nutrient Deficiency

S. No Element Deficiency symptom
1 Nitrogen Yellowish green leaves, curled, wrinkled
2 Phosphorus Light green color leaves and dried petals
3 Potassium Dark green and erected leaves
4 Magnesium Yellow leaves, interveinal chlorosis

Pests & Diseases

Pests Diseases
Mealybugs Powdery mildew
Spider mites Root rot
Aphids Damping off
Thrips Tobacco mosaic virus
Caterpillars Leaf yellowing
Nematodes Fusarium wilt


It is the process in which pollens are transferred from stamen to stigma through wind and insects like honey bees, hummingbird, and beetles. Pollination in euphorbias can be achieved by using a brush with fine hair and transferring the ripe pollen.


To keep the crown of thorns plants to the ground level, cut back the branches while leaving the auxiliary buds and sprouts. Remove dead leaves and flowers from the surface of the soil. This will help the soil to aerate and prevent from fungal diseases.


Thorn plants remain healthy even though you do not fertilize the plant occasionally. Watering too much helps to dissipate chlorine from the soil. So as to improve the soil fertility and flower blooming use a balanced fertilizer N-P-K in the ratio for 10-10-10. If you don’t find an NPK fertilizer then you can use organic compost, manure and Baking soda for better growth of euphorbias. Apply the fertilizers once in a week during the growing season around the base of the plant, where weather begins to cool and days become shorter.


During the 1st growing season euphorbias will not bloom flowers. They start blooming flowers from the 2nd season and some other varieties may take years. To harvest the fragrant flowers, the plant should mature completely and reach to a height of 2-3 feet tall.

Now harvest the euphorbia flowers early in the morning or evening using a sharp knife or scissors or simply pluck flowers using hands. Wear gloves so as to protect yourself from allergies.

Crown of Thorns – How To Grow And Care For The Euphorbia milii and hybrids Plant

Euphorbia Lophogona – One of the original varieties found in the wild, this type varies from milii because of its longer, leathery, leaves and its more upright growth. It doesn’t sprawl as much as the milii. The bracts on this variety are white, giving it the common name “White Crown of Thorns”. It also is not frost tolerant at all.

California Hybrids (Euphorbia x lomi California Group) – These were bred to have shorter stems and larger, more colorful, bracts. They are also called the “Giant Crown of Thorns”. Varieties include Rosalie, Vulcanus, and Saturnus. These varieties are difficult to find on the market and may involve lots of inquiring to garden shops and long-time gardeners.

German Hybrids (Euphorbia x lomi Heidelberg Group) – Propagated in Germany from species collected in the wilds of Madagascar, these have thinner stems and thicker leaves. Varieties include Somona and Gabriella. These varieties are hard to find in the United States.

Thai Hybrids (Euphorbia x lomi Poysean Group) – These hybrids have much larger bracts in a huge array of colors, including color blends. In some varieties, the colors change over time. They are available in large types, with some growing up to 6 feet tall, and in dwarf versions. The stems on these are upright and the plants don’t sprawl out like the originals. Their leaves are larger, growing up to 6″ in some varieties, and are a brighter green. There are fewer, less prominent thorns, with many being more like raised ridges instead of spikes. Thai botanists have developed over 2000 cultivators in the last 20-30 years with only a small few being available in the US and Europe. This is changing though as more people become interested in this new manifestation of Crown of Thorns. An online search for Thai hybrid Crown of Thorns will bring up an array of different sizes and colors with names that often only indicate the bloom color and that is it. Some people do not consider the Thai hybrids to be true Crown of Thorns since the methods used in their cultivation is so uncertain and many of them may have been crossed with other plants. 2

There is little standardization of colors or names with the Thai hybrids. They are often only listed by their color with no other information to distinguish them from others. When researching these to buy, descriptions alone will generally not suffice. It is best to see them in person or see a picture to understand the color and size. Even then, what you think you are getting may not be entirely true since some varieties have flowers that change color or varieties that sport several different colors that bloom at different times. Purchasing a Thai hybrid can bring a level of fun and intrigue to your garden that isn’t possible with many other plants.

Thai hybrids that are named include Jingle Bells (pink with red and green hints), Spring Song (deep, rich, yellow with an emerald green spot in the center), New Year (goes from rich, smooth, yellow to bright cherry red), and Pink Christmas (starts off cream colored and then saturated with light pink and red).

Some Crown of Thorns varieties are available as double-flowers, also called double-form. In these types, flower stamens are transformed into additional petals which make for larger, ornate, blooms. Without a stamen, pollen can’t be produced. This means the flower will sit in bloom longer as it waits for a pollination that will not occur. While long-lasting, large blooms are great for the beauty of the garden, it is not good for bees since the flower provides no food for them. Keep this in mind when choosing a Crown of Thorn’s variety. If the plant is kept indoors, whether it is beneficial to bees is less important.

Propagation & Cultivation:

This succulent is a slow grower and propagates best from a cutting. If you order a plant start, most companies will ship dry root cuttings.

New roots usually form in 14-21 days and will begin flowering immediately. It can take 12-35 weeks for the roots to establish themselves, depending on the size of the plant and the pot they are in. Smaller plantings take less time, of course.


To grow another plant from your own cutting, cut 3-6″ off the tip of a stem. Use a clean, sharp, blade to do this. Immerse the ends in cold water to stop the sap from flowing. Lay the cuttings out on a newspaper to dry for 3-4 days before planting. Dip the stem cutting in a rooting compound solution that contains a fungicide before planting Plant the cuttings in well-drained soil. Water lightly so the soil is moist but not super wet. It shouldn’t be allowed to dry too much either since they won’t root without some moisture. 3

Place the new plant in a warm location, around 75F is good. In 2-3 weeks, the roots will form. To test the roots progress, tug very lightly at the cutting. If it offers resistance, then the roots are beginning to establish.


V-cleft grafting works well with Crown of Thorns. There is less risk of root rot when using this method as opposed to cuttings. Grafting is generally a technique used by professionals and plant breeders since it does take some skill.

To graft, the host plant is cut down so it is 2-3 inches above the soil. A V-shaped cleft is then cut into the revealed stem, ¾” deep. A 3″ stem cutting is taken from the propagating plant and a matching ¾” deep V-shape is cut into it. When the milky sap stops on both edges, the two pieces are fitted together and tied securely in place with grafting tape.

Crown of Thorns can be planted from seed, however, it takes much longer and they are less likely to produce new seed unless they are hand-pollinated with other plants.


Plant Crown of Thorns in full sun or partial shade. It will do well in both situations. Generally, this plant prefers full sun but some of the newer varieties do better with some shade. Shaded plants, however, may not produce as many flowers. Follow the planting tag for your particular Crown of Thorns. Since there are so many new hybrids available in recent years, it is difficult to say the exact needs of each plant. If you live in a desert climate, it will benefit the Crown of Thorns to have some shade during the day.

If the Crown of Thorns is being planted outside, choose a location that doesn’t flood and has good drainage. It should also be a space that does not receive water from sprinklers. Wet leaves can encourage fungal growth. They do well and look great, planted among other succulents and plants that have similar requirements.

In the case that there is not a location with good drainage or full sun and you have the space to build, consider putting in a raised bed specifically for this type of plant. It should be 12-18 inches high and be filled with crushed rock and sandy soil.

When planted with other plants, leave 2 feet of spacing around the Crown of Thorns since it is likely to sprawl out (depending on the variety) and can grow quite tall.

Many Crown of Thorns plants will adapt to the planting container. They can be kept in small pots to keep their growth compact. Some newer varieties do need bigger pots so it is best to check the specific planting instructions before proceeding. Plants should only be re-potted if they outgrow the ones they are in. This generally takes about 2 years. Crown of Thorns need to be planted in rich, well-drained soil. Cactus planting mix with added perlite, pumice, sand or gravel, as well as some compost, is perfect. The thick stems and top-heavy growth can make these plants tip over in light soil. Adding sand or rocks to the bottom of the pot will increase stability.

Caring for Crown of Thorns:


Crown of Thorn plants like hot, bright, conditions. They are highly heat-tolerant. They are not frost-tolerant, however, newer varieties claim they can withstand temperatures down to 25F. They can handle cool nights as long as the daytime temperature is above 60F. In USDA hardiness zones 9 and above, Crown of Thorns can be a perennial.

If you live in a colder climate, keep your Crown of Thorns plant in a pot and bring it inside during the winter. It will do well inside and needs to be on a sunny window ledge. If this plant is kept in cold temperatures for too long, it will drop its leaves. Temperatures need to be above 60F for Crown of Thorns to thrive. In cold temperatures, Crown of Thorns will go dormant and drop all their leaves. They can remain dormant for months as long as they stay dry.

When moving Crown of Thorns between indoors and outdoors, make sure to do it slowly so it can acclimate. Improper acclimation leads to leaf drop. Humidity isn’t an issue for Crown of Thorns since it is originally a desert plant.


This plant doesn’t require a lot of watering. It is a succulent with stems that are designed for holding small amounts of water. The soil surface should be visibly dry before being watered. Drench the soil thoroughly when watering until water dribbles out the bottom of the pot. The water should be soaked into the soil by about an inch. Drain off any water that ends up in the pan underneath the pot. Leaving standing water and over-watering can lead to leaf-drop and root-rot. Ensure that there is good drainage so the water doesn’t build up and cause problems.

The exact watering schedule will depend on where your plant is located and the climate. Watering approximately once every 2 weeks is a good guide to start and then you can adjust it to your situation and your particular plants’ needs.

Crown of Thorns like full sun and can also tolerate partial shade. In USDA planting zones 9 and higher, they can be kept outside year-round. In cooler climates, keep the plant outside during warm and hot months and then bring it inside when it gets cold. A spot on a south-facing window ledge is perfect for cold months. Full sun is needed for the plants to flower, however, they do need periods of darkness to initiate the flowering. Nighttime darkness is enough for initiating the flowering. Do not keep the plants in a place where they get light 24/7.


For better blooms, the addition of fertilizer in the spring and fall is beneficial. Applying fertilizer more will often encourage bigger displays, however, twice a year is also sufficient. Too much fertilizer can cause the plant not to flower at all.


When the flowering cycle is complete, the plant can be trimmed to maintain size. Thin and weak branches can be removed to increase vitality. Remember to wear gloves to avoid the sticky white sap and the thorns. The stickiness of the sap can cause cutting tools to gum up so it is recommended to use a single-blade knife for any trimming.

Remove any dead or dying leaves and flowers to prevent the growth of fungus. Any part of the plant that turns brown should be removed.

Since this is a slow-growing plant, it may be that you don’t need to really prune until the 3rd or 4th year. To lessen the risk of stem disease, prune during dry, cool temperatures. The base of compact varieties should be thinned to improve air circulation.

Potential Problems:

There aren’t many pests or diseases that severely affect Crown of Thorns. This hardiness is one of the benefits to growing it. The majority of issues people have with growing this plant comes from over-watering which in turn causes root-rot.


Mealybugs – These bugs are soft, wingless insects that feed on the sap of a plant. They appear as white cotton-like masses on the stems and leaves. Mealybugs will cause the plant to weaken and leaves will turn yellow and curl. Infected leaves should be removed or insects dabbed lightly with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Spider Mites – These little bugs operate in large numbers sucking the sap out of plants. They are reddish brown or pale and are so tiny they are hard to see. Evidence of their presence is found in the small dots they leave all over the foliage, yellow leaves, and possible leaf drop. Do not use chemical solutions to get rid of these. Chemicals kill the mites natural predators and help the mites thrive even more. Washing the leaves will get rid of them as well as removing the leaves entirely.

Thrips – Another tiny bug that loves to suck the sap out of your plants, these guys will have the leaves of your plant turning pale and splotchy. Eventually, they can kill the plant if not eradicated. The best way to deal with them is to remove any leaves or plants that are infested and put out blue sticky traps. They multiply rapidly so if you see a few, there will be hundreds very soon. 4


Root Rot – The cause of this is simple. Plants are over-watered and don’t have sufficient drainage. The roots sit in wet soil for too long and then rot. To prevent this, make sure any pots used have good drainage and don’t water until the soil is dry to the touch.

Other Issues:

Cold damage – Stems become soft while leaves look burnt. Remove them as soon as they are discovered to prevent the spread.

Leaf Drop – This occurs when plants are moved too quickly from one temperature to another, usually when they are being moved outside from being indoors all winter. To prevent this, acclimate them slowly to the brightness of the outdoors. Leaf drop in these situations is generally temporary and they will recover. Other environmental stresses can also cause leaf drop. If this happens with your plant, it is not happy about its current conditions.

A small amount of leaf drop is normal. This is especially common on the lower branches of the plant. Leaves will turn yellow and drop away while the leaves on the top of the plant stay green and healthy. There is nothing to worry about if this happens, as long as the rest of the plant looks healthy. The time to be concerned is when the plant loses all its leaves.

Crown of Thorns is a stunning, easy-to-grow, succulent that grows well indoors and outdoors. The colorful year-round blooms make it an attractive addition to an inside windowsill or arranged with other succulents outside. With all the new varieties and hybrids making their way into the market in recent years, there is so much to choose from as far as color, size, and arrangement. A collection of Crown of Thorns will add distinction and beauty to any garden.

Watch the video: How to take care of Crown of thorns plant