A crested euphorbia? What is that? Have you seen ones like mine below? Have you wondered how you care for a crested euphorbia?
The variegated plants above are white. Since photosynthesis only occurs in green parts of plants, these aren’t photosynthesizing well. Grafting them onto green succulents allows them to get energy or food from them.
My crested euphorbia
I have had the one below for over 30 years, buying it before I got married. It is over 34 years old at the time of this writing. It is more than 3′ tall, becoming much larger than the little single crest I bought in a 4″ pot. I purchased it in a grocery store in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. I had never seen a plant like it before.
Reverting crested euphorbia
Mine shoots out straight pieces that aren’t crested. Why? It is trying to revert back to its original form.
Crested plants are a fluke of nature caused by damage to the growing tip. The cause may be a virus, fungus, or insect, or hormonal or genetic.
No one knows exactly why it happens and each plant is different. When they revert back to the form they should be, the plant is stronger and so can take over the crested part.
Removing the reversions
See the long parts of the plant shooting straight up from the crests below? Cut them off close to the crested plant. Remember, this is a euphorbia (poinsettia relative) so it has white milky latex sap.
It may drip on your floors or furniture so place your plant on newspaper or an old sheet when pruning. After cutting, use a piece of paper towel and place it over the cut to stem the flow. Compare it to cutting your face or legs shaving.
Warning: Do not get the white milky latex in your eyes as is dangerous. Wear gloves and be careful getting it on your skin as it could be an irritant to you.
The reversions are straight
My crested euphorbia is reverting to its original form.
These are the straight pieces I removed. After the ends callous over, I could propagate them, but I did not.
You can see the white milky latex sap coming from the cuts. These will eventually callous over and as more crests grow, they will disapper.
What happens if I don’t take them off?
Here is one at Belle Isle Conservatory in Detroit and yes, that is ONE plant! The original plant is stronger than the crested part and it will win the race.
For the best crested euphorbia care, cut the reversions off. If you don’t the crested part may disappear under all the straight growing stems.
Do you like crested plants and do you have any? I love the weirdness of them and collect them when I see them. Leave a comment below about your crested succulents.
Have a great week, plant friends!