My mother gave me a freakish plant ….a mutant on a stick, as it were……and I love it!
Coral Cacti are two Euphorbia varieties grafted together to create a single plant. The green “stem” is a cutting from Euphorbia Neriifolia; the fan-like “top” is the result of a genetic mutation in Euphorbia Lactea, causing it to grow in an irregular, horizontal, wavy fashion known as “cristating.” Cristate mutations lack the amount of chlorophyl needed to maintain normal growth and green coloration, which not only explains these plants’ odd pastel-toned tops, but the reasons for grafting them to root stock the graft allows chlorophyl to circulate upward and improve the cristates’ overall health and longevity.
So much work to keep this variety alive, and what do the growers do next? Package it for sale in a way that guarantees death! The blue ceramic pot, while pretty, lacked any drainage holes, and worse, the little pea stones were glued tightly to each other AND the sides of the pot!!! Hello, suffocation!!!
Not knowing how long my new plant had endured such stifling conditions, I was hugely relieved to see healthy roots!
I was very indecisive about replanting it in a container or directly in-ground. The Ranchero is my primary succulent garden, but the full-on summer sun there would burn this variety. Ultimately, I decided upon the dappled morning (and late day) sun of the Rear Cutting Garden, in a spot fully shaded from 11am to 2pm.; I dug a 3″ hole, filled it with 1.5″ of Miracle-Gro Cactus/Palm/Citrus Soil and then sited the Euphorbia:
Whenever I plant something in-ground, I water the hole (twice!) before backfilling and tamping any remaining soil into place around the roots and stem.
Until next time….
- Capturing The Moment – Cristate (or Crested) Saguaro (kenneturner.wordpress.com)