Felbackback, Pedilanthus tithymaloides - Care

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The Pedilanthus tithymaloidesDevil's Backbone looks quite exotic with its zigzag growth, its leaves of variegated leaves, and its flowering erupting from a shoe. The very special is her growth. Their shoots make a kink after each leaf approach. This not only earned her the name Teufelsr├╝ckgrat, it also makes her a very varied houseplant and something special for conservatories.
Because it is still relatively unknown as a houseplant, it is something very special for plant lovers and collectors.
The home of the wild form of Pedilanthus tithymaloides are the tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America. It belongs to the genus of Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae). Characteristic of this unusual plant is the zigzag growth of its stems. Therefore, it is often offered commercially under the imaginative name 'Green Lightning Bamboo'. However, this is not correct because there are no family ties to these species.
In the eye, the Pedilanthus tithymaloides also falls through their irregularly shaped leaves. She could be 7 to 9 inches long. The leaf coloring is beautiful. The middle of the leaf is darker colored, towards the edge, the leaf is light green. Young leaves are recognizable by a pink colored area. The flowers are of intense red color and remind in their growth of slippers. All in all, she is an expressive plant with exotic fascination.
There are some subspecies of this plant genus. The Pedilanthus variegatus is known. She is wearing colorful leaves. If this species is too cold, the leaves get a light pinkish tone. It then acts like the young plant of Pedilanthus tithymaloides. The variegatus also bears intense red flowers, reminiscent of slippers.

  • Family: Euphorbiaceae, Spurge Family
  • Origin: Tropical and subtropical regions in Central and South America
  • Use: Exotic-looking room or conservatory plant
Teufelsr├╝ckgrat loves a sunny and bright location in summer. From autumn to spring it even tolerates the midday sun. However, she wants to spend the hot weeks of the summer at a distance from the hot sunbathing spot because the heat there is too much in the way. Partly shady and rather cool. Direct sun and heat in outdoor areas cause burns on the leaves. Year-round location in the house is recommended. Keep the soil slightly damp even now. Continuous moisture inevitably leads to decay of roots and stems.
In winter you should set the devil's backbone bright, at temperatures of about 20┬░ C. Since the leaves of this plant have only a short lifetime, it is phylum-leaved. The plant is still healthy. A short-term minimization of the temperature by 3┬░ C helps with new budding. Even now only produce a slight soil moisture. If the plant drops leaves, it is not a sign of water-spike. Therefore, never keep too wet.
If there is a place sheltered from rain and sun in the garden or on the balcony, the Pedilanthus tithymaloides can spend the summer outside. If temperatures are only 10┬░ C, the plant must return to the house or conservatory.
A pruning can be done at any time, but is not necessary on a regular basis. Long shoots can be easily supported and secured with rods.
Substrate / bottom
Commercial flower or cactus soil is well suited as a substrate. To make it more permeable, sand or granules can be mixed in. Good commercial soil usually already contains coarse particles, such as expanded clay, gravel or lava. That makes them loose and airy. The humic fraction can store water and nutrients well. Tip: A high proportion of peat is not a quality feature, in fact it even reduces the quality of the potting soil.
The multiplication of the devil backbone is not expensive. It is done by shoot cuttings. They can be rooted in the water. The best time for this is the summer. For propagation requires 5 to 15 cm long stem or Kopfstecklinge. Milk flow at the interface is stopped by immersion in the water. Caution: The milky sap may cause skin irritation. At temperatures of 20┬░ to 25┬░ C, the first roots appear after about 4 weeks.
to water
From spring to autumn, the devil's backbone is watered until the soil has become soaked. In the coaster or planter run water must be poured. The next watering takes place when the soil has dried. It should not dry out!
Euphorbia tithymaloides has no high nutrient requirement. In the first year after purchase or repotting, the plant does not need to be fertilized.After that, the nutrient requirement is covered from March to October by one to two doses of liquid fertilizer a month. Who does not want to pay attention to the nutrient cycle, can resort to long-term fertilizer, such as fertilizer sticks.
The tithymaloides will be repotted as needed. The best time is spring. The degree of rooting of the plant indicates whether repotting is necessary. Therefore, every year, it should be checked how rooted the plant bale is. Now a division of the plant is easily possible. Also for the new, larger planter only high quality potting soil should be used.
Devil's Spine, Pedilanthus tithymaloides, can reach a height of 0.5 to 1.5 meters with attentive care. Long shoots do not necessarily have to be cut off. An adequate support protects them from breaking off and makes the plant look even more exotic.
The heyday of Pedilanthus tithymaloides is spring.
Pests and diseases
There are no known pests or diseases that can harm the devil's backbone. If root rot or sunburn occurs, it is a sign of poor care or a misplaced location. The short life of the leaves is not a sign of a disease, but a plant-specific nature.
Frequently asked questions
  • Can I cut the tithymaloides into shape? - A pruning is possible at any time, but not necessary on a regular basis. Secure long shoots with support rods and shape if desired.
  • Why does the interface produce a milky liquid? - When removing a cuttings swells in all plants of the family of milkweed white milk juice. To stop it, just dip the cut surface in water. Do not touch milk juice, it can cause acidification on the skin.
Worth knowing about the Teufelsr├╝ckgrat in brief
  • Pedilanthus tithymaloides requires a partially shady location.
  • Cool temperatures, too much heat and direct sunlight can damage the plant.
  • It is best to leave them in the house all year round. In winter it can get along well at about 20┬░ C.
  • The leaves have a short lifetime. They just fall off. Then the plant is leafless, which makes it easy to see its jagged stems.
  • As a plant substrate is good bucket potting soil. It should have coarse-grained proportions. Lavagrus, expanded clay and gravel are well suited.
  • In summer, the plant is only slightly moist. Too much moisture leads to rot and fungal attack.
  • Between March and October you only have to fertilize twice, that's enough.
  • At Teufelsr├╝ckgrat a pruning is possible at any time. Long shoots must be secured with support rods.
  • The plant can easily be multiplied by division. Even trunk and head cuttings are suitable.

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