A Freakish Gift!

My mother gave me a freakish plant ;)….a mutant on a stick, as it were……and I love it!

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata

Coral Cactus (aka Euphorbia Lactea Cristata)

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 :arrow: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!!!

Glued pea stones and synthetic "dirt"

See you around the yard..

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata with glued rocks

Goodbye, Suffocation!

Euphorbia Lactea Cristate Roots



3" deep planting hole

Replanting Euphorbia Lactea Cristata

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.

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata, Rear Cutting Garden,

I Love this new plant! 🙂

Until next time….

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16 thoughts on “A Freakish Gift!

  1. You’d think people would package plants better! It reminds me of all the trees in our neighborhood with the “volcanoes” of mulch piled around them every year. You can guess how many die each year, too. And it’s the HOA’s landscaping contractor who replenishes the mulch (and new trees) every year….

    • I’d heard about these glued-in rocks before but never bought or received any plant that had them…until this! It actually took me a minute to understand why nothing dislodged when i laid the container sideways to check for drainage holes!

      Re: your tree situation? I’ve got a blog-worthy post about that which I’ll put up sometime soon—for now i’ll just say “Argghhhh” to those danged volcanoes!!!!!!!

  2. This brought back memories. My father had a E. l. cristata variety with plenty of clorphyll growing in our front yard in the Keys. It was a mound a couple of feet in diameter. I hope your baby does as well!

    • no way!!!! His grew so big!?!! I envisioned these plants as more short-term, novelty gift items…this is so nice to hear! I’ll keep my eye on it if we have winter this year though and possibly dig it up/containerize. Thanks for this great comment!

  3. I do believe this is one of the most beautiful & fun ‘freakish gifts’ that I ever saw. it’s amazing that it survived the glued in rocks. I hope it grows and flourishes for you for many decades to come. 🙂

    • It seems to be doing ok! I wondered how it would fare during the summer rains: we’ve been inundated this past month and the season just started! I think as long as the soil around it continues draining well it will ok though!
      thank you so much for stopping in!

      • I’m envious of your rains. It’s 96° in the shade of our back-porch with 2 ceiling fans going. It’s pitifully dry here and there’s no rain in the forecast for a couple weeks on…
        I hope your cactus continues to live and thrive. Like you, I think that as long as the soil stays drained that it may be okay.

    • Thank you!
      I’ve been to your blog and embrace your philosophy 100%!
      A positive outlook makes every minute of the day (even the not so great ones) worth living!
      I hope you’ll stop in again. 🙂

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  5. My son inherited one of these from a college roommate. We’ve had it in the kitchen window, but not direct sun. Occasionally I place it on our deck so it can get direct sunshine, but not all day…just a few hours. We live in NC. What do you suggest we should do with the plant?

    • In N.C. I don’t know if I’d risk planting it inground. You could place it outside in dappled sunlight (under a tree where sun comes through indirectly would be ideal!) until frost and then bring it back indoors for your coldest months.
      (so sorry it took me a month to get back to you! I hope you see this)

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