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Growing Euphorbias
Growing Euphorbias
Euphorbia flanaganii
Euphorbia horrida, white form
Euphorbia with male flowers
Euphorbia lyttoniana
Euphorbia bupleurifolia in the nursery
Euphorbia meloformis
Euphorbia stellaspina
Euphorbia neohumberttii
Euphorbia polygonna
Seed pods on Euphorbia horrida
Euphorbia clandestina
Euphorbias in the nursery
Euphorbia flanaganii in bloom
Euphorbia greenwayii, blue form
Euphorbia aeruginosa
Euphorbia neohumberttii, with beautiful leaves!
Euphorbia enopla
Euphorbia clavigera with swollen roots
  The family of Euphorbiaceae is large and diverse. It is estimated that there are in excess of 5000 species from around the world.  Of this group there are hundreds of succulent Euphorbias. Many of the succulent Euphorbias originate from Africa and Madagascar. However many Euphorbias originate from other countries like the common Poinsettia which is from Mexico.  All Euphorbias have a white milky sap which can burn the skin. Always wash your hands after handling Euphorbias!  I make it habit to always wash may hands after being in the nursery regardless of what plants I have handled.  Euphorbias come in all shapes and sizes which make them a collectors dream.  I remember my first Euphorbia, E. obesa, the "Baseball Euphorbia". I thought it was the coolest plant I ever saw. Another of my favorites is E. bupleurifolia, which looks like a mini pineapple. 
  Most Euphorbia plants have flowers that produce three seeds per pod.  After the seed pod ripens and dries, it eventually pops and shoots the seeds into the air landing where they may.  Many growers will wrap seed pods in netting to capture the seeds.  Some other favorites of mine are the Madagascar species that can look like mini palm trees. Many have beautiful lush green leaves.  There are so many forms, you will be sure to find something that will strike your fancy, from forms that resemble cacti, to others that look like a rosettes with many "arms" radiating from the center. You will never get bored looking for new species to grow!
  Since there are so many different species of Euphorbia and originating from so many different environments, it is difficult to summarize their care. There are however some basic cultural practices that can be applied to most species.  Most Euphorbias prefer part to full sun. Even plants that grow in full sun in their natural environment will enjoy some shade. All my plants receive some shade during the day, and most are under 30-50 percent shade, with occasional direct sun during sometime of the day.  As for soil, I prefer to use a well drained mix of 50% inorganic material such as pumice and 50% organic material such as a commercial potting mix. Some species may require more inorganics, which you will learn from research and growing experience. During summer months I water once or twice a week depending on weather and species. Euphorbias like food! Feed you plants regularly!  I feed once a week with water soluble fertilizer that contains all major and micro nutrients.  If your plants have yelllow leaves with dark veins you are missing a micro nutrient such as iron. Increase the feeding to correct the problem. Euphorbias can be grown from cuttings or seeds easily. When taking cuttings wear gloves since the white sap can burn your skin. Take cuttings at joint, and make a clean cut with a knife or pruner.  A jagged cut can lead to infection and death to your plant.  Another fun way to start plants is from seed.  Plant seeds in a well drained mix. They will germinate in about one to two weeks. They are fun to grow, and will  gain size quickly.