Canary Spurge, Euphorbia canariensis - Care

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The Canary Spurge bears the botanical name Euphorbia canariensis and belongs to the family of the milkweed family. The cactus species is endemic to the Canary Islands and is one of the characteristic succulents there. The strong pillars of the Euphorbia canariensis branch out in the form of a candelabrum and can reach heights of growth of 3 to 5 m in the Canary Islands. When cultivating in living rooms, the growth usually remains below the height of 1 m. The succulent plant is poisonous and forms inconspicuous inflorescences with good care and suitable site conditions.
Location & Planting Substrate
The Euphorbia canariensis is a particularly light hungry plant, an insufficient supply of sunlight leads to a weak immune system and susceptibility to diseases and pests. Since the plant is not winter hardy, the year-round cultivation in the fresh air is out of the question. The plant substrate should be tailored to the similar needs of cacti. The following aspects are to be considered at the location and the planting substrate:

  • needs very bright location, with several hours of sunshine daily
  • ideal are south-facing window sills, also tolerates bright midday heat
  • unsuitable are north-facing windowsills
  • ideal are year-round warm temperature values
  • suitable for cultivation in the heated and full-sunred greenhouse
  • Use as a planting substrate cactus clay with about 30% mineral additives
  • Earth should always be permeable, drainage is an advantage
Tip: The plant may move into a winter garden in the summer, as are suitable sheltered terraces. However, if the temperature levels steadily deteriorate, the Canary Spurge must return to warm living spaces immediately.
Pouring & fertilizing
The Canary Spurge is watering depending on the season, the weather, the pot size and size, but generally requires less water than plants from the native latitudes. The plant is not particularly demanding on the nutrients and pulls them mostly from the ground. However, if the substrate is very nutrient-poor, deficiency symptoms quickly appear, including slow growth and poor flowering, which can be remedied with a fertilizer. The following criteria should be considered when casting and fertilising:
  • Water during the growing season if necessary, do not water in winter
  • only pour when the substrate is almost completely dry
  • then penetrate thoroughly until the substrate is completely soaked
  • ideal is the watering over a dip
  • once in the summer, use weakly dosed cactus fertilizer
  • fertilize with deficiencies once a month
Tip: Useful are substrates with components that change color or brightness when changing from wet to dry. In this way, one look is sufficient to know when the next casting unit is due.
Shoots and flowers
Euphorbia canariensis is a cactus-like perennial reminiscent of a candelabrum or candelabra. The plant can grow into its home to extremely large specimens and several meters high. When cultivating the rooms, however, the stature heights remain manageable:
  • Grows at heights of 3-5 in wild growth, in room culture up to 1 m high
  • columnar growth, with strong branching
  • upright shoots are square in cross-section
  • Shoots are green, gray-green to dark gray-green
  • Thorns are directed upwards
  • forms purple capsules
  • Milk juice contains diterpenes and is poisonous!
  • forms inconspicuous flowers
In the native latitudes, the Canary Spurge grows much slower than in their homeland, but over time, this also forms strong roots and long pillars in indoor culture. If the roots take over and look out of the planter, then the repotting is announced:
  • Repot plants approximately every two years
  • select new planter big enough for future growth
  • Replace substrate completely
  • new substrate should contain sufficient amount of humus and mineral additives
The Euphorbia canariensis likes it even in winter warm, the plant may under no circumstances cool down, otherwise it may come to a dying off of the shoots. When temperatures are too cold, the Canary Spurge first gets black spots and then rots. Higher temperatures during the winter do not damage, e.g. 20-25° C, and do not adversely affect the flowering joy. The following aspects are crucial in wintering:
  • needs in winter temperatures of min. 12° C, better and safer are min. 15° C
  • Tall specimens are particularly sensitive to cold
  • Keep dry, do not pour
  • Keep completely dry from the beginning of November until around March / April
  • do not pour even in very warm locations
  • even small waterings can lead to immediate rot
The propagation of the Canary Spurge is possible via cuttings, but this does not work in autumn or winter, as they do not rooted in this time. Due to the toxicity of the latex juice, rubber gloves have to be worn during the process, and in the case of severe sensitivities or allergies even goggles and mouthguards. The following procedure has proven itself during multiplication:
  • ideal time for propagation with cuttings is spring
  • Cut only mature shoot tips, about 15 cm long
  • cut as thin as possible to keep wound area small
  • use a sharp knife to prevent cracking
  • Thoroughly remove rotten spots and curdled latex
  • Cut off the cut cuttings in a glass with water for several minutes
  • Place the cutting in a dry and shady place
  • Leave to dry for about 3-6 weeks and wait until the wound has completely healed
  • Pot and warm, keep shady and slightly damp
  • if again shows new growth, nurture young plant normally
Tip: After cutting the cut surface is to be considered exactly. Even at the smallest sign of a remaining fouling, in some cases that is only a very small dark point, should also be cut another disc.
Diseases & pests
The Canary Spurge is a very robust and resilient plant that is not particularly susceptible to diseases and pests. However, if the site conditions are not right and there are mistakes in the care process, the following symptoms may occur:
  • Inadequate supply of sunlight leads to spoiling
  • Vergeilung manifests itself by light green, thin and extremely weak shoots
  • once plants have been completely ruined
  • only possible rescue on cuttings of still healthy shoots
Conclusion of the editorship
The Canary Spurge is a cactus-like plant that can be cultivated in the home with good care and suitable site conditions. However, the columnar shrub always needs high temperatures and plenty of sunlight in winter so that it can thrive. If the temperatures fall below 10-12° C and the sun is missing, then it can quickly come to the death of Euphorbia canariensis. Although the Canary Spurge does not hibernate, it should not be watered in winter. The propagation is possible with cuttings, but somewhat complicated and does not always lead to success. The milkweed plant is a fancy plant, which is a nice reminder of the last stay in the Canary Islands, as this is very common there.
Worth knowing about candelabra milk in a nutshell
  • The Candelabra Spurge looks like a cactus through its thick pillars that branch out on both sides.
  • But it belongs to the milkweed family.
  • It grows very quickly under good conditions and is therefore best suited for high rooms.
  • If necessary, individual cuts can be cut off to make new plants.
The candelabra spurge should get a bright location near a window, but does not necessarily need direct sun. From spring to autumn, it is only occasionally, but then poured plenty. The potting soil should be completely dry between two pourings. In winter, even less water is poured, and if the plant is in a room with a temperature below 15° C during this time, watering is even completely stopped by spring. In the summer months it is advisable to supply the Euphorbia Ingens with a little cactus fertilizer with the necessary nutrients.
The Candelabra milkweed can be cultivated all year round as a houseplant, because even dry heating air in winter does not bother her. In summer it can be on the terrace, but before the outside temperatures fall below 10° C, it must be brought back into the house, because it does not tolerate temperatures below 6° C.
Cut and multiply
The Euphorbia Ingens grows very fast and may be too big. Then it is possible to shorten it a little or separate off individual branches. However, caution is advised, because the latex that comes out when cutting is poisonous and irritating and therefore should not be allowed to get on the skin or especially in the eyes. To stop the discharge of milk juice from the plant, the interfaces can be dabbed with hot water. Cut pieces of Euphorbia can be planted in a separate pot to make a new plant. Before, however, the cut surfaces should dry a bit. After that, they are simply placed on the new substrate, supported as needed and kept only slightly moist until well grown.
Diseases and treatment
The candelabra grayling is very sensitive to waterlogging or too much water and then starts to rot quickly. Therefore, it should always be poured sparingly and excess irrigation water should be removed from the planter. A plant that has already begun to rot in parts may possibly be saved by generously cutting off the diseased parts.This cut should be made as quickly as possible so that the rot does not spread further. After the cut, it is important to examine the interfaces accurately. If brown spots are still visible, another piece should be removed, but first the knife should be disinfected with some alcohol.


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