It’s spiny, really spiny. But the Euphorbia milii is a succulent, not a cactus. The plant, which is native to Madagascar and can grow up to six feet tall in the right conditions, is an excellent houseplant choice. When growing the crown of thorns, however, be sure to place it out of high-traffic areas. Like many euphorbias, the crown of thorns produces a milk-like sap that can irritate the skin. Mature plants can spread to a width of several feet, depending on pruning. And those thorns – they are about one-half-inch long and located all along the woody stems.
This interesting succulent goes by many names. It used to be called Euphorbia splendens, and splendid seems more appropriate for this plant. But milii is in honor of Baron Milius, who introduced the plant to France in 1821. It’s also sometimes called the Christ Plant. The crown of thorns was introduced to the United States through Florida.
The crown of thorns is among succulents most often mistaken for a cactus. The spines don’t rise from a single areole, however, which helps differentiate spiny euphorbias from true cacti. And as a houseplant, it’s not likely to reach six feet, although we had one that grew to more than two feet before Tim trimmed it back and propagated new plants from the cuttings.
This euphorbia is only hardy as a perennial in zone 10 and higher, where it makes a fine shrub choice. It requires little watering or care, and only some warmth and sunshine to bloom almost continuously. By placing our crown of thorns in a sunny, south-facing window and giving it a summer vacation outside once temperatures warm, we’ve enjoyed blooms all year long.
The crown of thorns is a relative of the poinsettia, and original plants had deeper red flowers than those available today. New cultivars of the Euphorbia milii have smaller thorns, but what sort of a challenge is that? Most crown of thorn plants available for growing in containers are smaller than those placed in tropical landscapes, and flowers on the houseplants are only about one-half inch in diameter. But it doesn’t seem to matter; for one, the flowers appear in groupings. And I love the effect of the tiny, subtle blooms on such a thorny plant.
Crown of Thorns Care
The crown of thorns is vulnerable to mites, mealybugs and whiteflies. The only other problem that can occur with the easy-care succulent is overwatering. Place Euphorbia milii plants and cuttings in well-draining soil.
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Plant Addict Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)
Plant Addicts guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy and healthy, but the plant(s) are being shipped through the mail and accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly.
For information on how to care for you new plant please check out our guide. Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)
Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)
We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty whether you’re new or an expert. There are many variables outside our control and yours that can cause the demise of your plant(s). Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all the unknowns and will replace your plant if it moves on to the plant afterlife.
The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant purchase. We will cover 100% of the price of the plant but the warranty does not cover shipping cost. Simply let us know if your plant has died within one year of receiving it and we’ll get you a new one shipped out. We may ask for photos for documentation purposes but again we’ll try to make it as easy as possible.
For more information, please go to our Shipping & Returns page at the bottom of the website.
Standard Colors: 2-3 business days
Special Order Colors: 8 weeks - this is due to the planter being custom made with the color(s) of your choice
Please Note: On special orders there can not be any cancellations
Time of Order:
- If there is extreme heat we’ll delay shipping.
- We’ll have to review what areas the plants are traveling through along with your location
Once your plant is shipped you’ll receive an email with tracking information. Depending on the above criteria we’ll ship your plant(s) towards beginning of the following week from your order. We put together this helpful guide of what to do when you receive your plants in the mail.
It is important to know that all of our plants are clearly labeled for which growing zones the plant can survive in. The plants are thoroughly trialed and tested in every growing zone before we state the plant can grow in a zone. Again, our #1 priority is to ship the plants to you healthy and ready to thrive in your location. So we will do everything in our power to do so.