Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Crown of Thorns

I've always liked Crown of Thorns.
Perfectly symmetrical, the way the bracts fold against each other. Another xenic plant that does very well in rock gardens where it is one of the few succulents to actually sport foliage. With sticky poisonous sap, it is designed for rough living and one of the quickest ways to kill it is to pamper it with too much water.
The Crown of Thorns is also an emblematic plant.
It's thought that Christ's infamous crown of thorns was this charming euphorbia.
With its thorny spiny stem and poisonous sap, it tops the list of plants I would not like on my head.

Interestingly, famous cousin, Poinsettia, is associated with Christianity as well. It is one of the undisputed botanical stars of the nativity season.
The flowers of the Crown of Thorns (like the Poinsettia) are colourful bracts rather than the true flowers. The real flowers are small and often insignificant. The bracts now come in a number of colours ranging from vivid reds to muted salmons. Lemon colour is still quite unusual.

To grow it sucessfully, keep it out of open weather and warter sparingly. It likes full sun. It fact, it will thrive in full sun. It is a fairly heavy feeder. Watch for rot from over-watering. The stems will just disintergrate and that wil be the end of your plant.