Euphorbia milii is also commonly known as the crown of thorns, Christ plant, or Christ thorn. This species belongs to flowering plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). This plant is native to Madagascar and was introduced in France in 1821.
This plant was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times, and an interesting legend is associated with it.
This plant was the crown of thorns that Jesus Christ wore before his crucifixion, according to the legend. Hence, the common name crown of thorns or Christ thorn justified by the thorns Jesus had to wear and the red flowers symbolizing his blood.
Crown of thorns is a woody succulent shrub that has thorns distributed all over the stems. The bright green leaves appear mostly on new growths, and it blooms beautiful flowers in red, pink, and white color.
If you love succulents, then this plant is just for you! We will teach you some simple methods about how to propagate crown of thorns.
When to Propagate Crown of Thorns
Crown of thorns require warm weather conditions to thrive, so the best time to propagate this plant is during the spring or early summer. A warm climate is necessary to grow and establish its roots.
If you propagate crown of thorns during the fall or the winter season, the roots will not have sufficient time to establish themselves before the cold hits. It will result in a failed propagation and a short-lived plant.
How to Propagate Crown of Thorns
Propagating crown-of-thorns is relatively easy, and there are two simple methods you can follow to learn how to propagate.
Items You Will Need
Method 1: Propagation through Seeds
The first method to propagate the crown of thorns plant is by seeds. You can buy seeds or form the seeds on your own by pollinating the flowers. Take a light paintbrush and transfer the pollen from one flower to the other for pollination.
The flower will grow a pod that contains seeds. You can take off this pod and gently open it on a piece of paper. Once the seeds are ready, use them as soon as possible. The seeds of crown of thorns are not suitable for long-term storage.
Sowing the Seeds and Germination
Once the seeds are collected, sprinkle them over your good drainage potting mix, which consists of peat moss, soil, sand, and perlite. Now cover the seeds with a light layer of sand and spray some water to provide moisture.
To facilitate the process of germination, cover the pot with a plastic bag or keep them in a greenhouse in bright light but avoid direct sunlight. The preferred temperature for germination is somewhere between 65 to 75 °F.
Seeds will germinate within two to three weeks. When the seeds start to germinate, remove the plastic cover, and keep spraying water to maintain the moisture on the surface. Once the crown of thorns plant has established a few leaves, you can transfer it into another pot or outdoors in your garden.
Give your plant a couple of weeks before replanting. It will give the seeds sufficient time to establish strong roots and healthy leaves, which are important for the plant to thrive after replanting.
Method 2: Propagation Through Cutting
If you are a beginner and don’t know how to propagate Crown of thorns, then using a cutting is your best bet. It is simpler and easier and requires less care than propagation through seeds.
This method is preferable. However, you must wear gloves before proceeding because the stems have long thorns, and the sap is toxic.
The sap can irritate the skin, and it is also recommended to let the sap dry before placing the cutting in the growing pot. It can take almost 24 hours for the sap to dry out entirely.
Taking the Cutting
First and foremost, take all safety precautions. This plant has thorns and has a toxic sap, wear safety gloves to avoid getting injured. If you contact the sap, wash it off with water and soap immediately.
Now take a sharp knife or bypass pruner to cut a fresh and healthy stem from the fully grown Crown of thorns. Carefully cut about 4 to 6 inches of the plant stem, including healthy leaves, and cut off any side growths.
Pro Tip: Make sure you water your plant at least one day before taking a cutting. It will ensure a sufficient amount of water is stored in the stem of the cutting, which will help it grow roots.
Let the sap dry out before planting it. To solidify the sap and prevent it from running down, wash it with cold water. You can also spray cold water on the plant from where the cutting is taken.
Pro Tip: Take more than required cuttings for propagation if some cutting fails to grow roots.
Preparing the Potting Mix
Now that you have taken a healthy cutting, it is time to place it in a good growing medium to sustain its growth. To create a good potting mix, combine equal parts of sand, soil, peat moss, and perlite. You can also add bark to it.
Ensure that the potting mix has good drainage because succulents prefer well-draining soil. If the drainage is not good, the soil will become waterlogged and cause the roots to rot, or the stem of the cutting will rot before it even starts to grow.
Also, use a pot with sufficient drainage holes at its bottom, allowing the excess water to seep out. Keep your potting mix slightly moist, but it should not be wet.
Planting and Repotting the Cuttings
Now that you have taken the cutting and prepared the potting mix, it is time to plant the cutting in the growing medium. Take the cutting and dip it in rooting hormone powder to boost the roots and ensure healthy growth.
Now take the cutting and place it in the potting mix. Place only about an inch of the cutting into the soil and cover it with sand.
Water the cutting lightly and place it in a nice warm spot with bright indirect sunlight. The cuttings will start sprouting and growing new roots in a span of three to six weeks. After that, you can easily transplant it anywhere you want.
Crucial Tips for Taking Cuttings of Crown of Thorns
Keep these essential tips in mind while taking a cutting from crown of thorns.
- Ensure that your tools are clean and sterilized before taking a cutting.
- Take the cutting early in the morning.
- Always cut diagonally while taking the cutting.
- Take cuttings from a healthy plant without any diseases.
- Take more than one cutting because some cuttings might fail to form roots. If all the cutting roots, then the more, the merrier! You can also give them as a gift to a fellow gardener.
- To encourage healthy growth, use a root growth hormone.
Crown of thorns is a lovely succulent, and its brightly colored flowers are perfect for adding a pop of color to your succulent collection. They are easy to care for and low maintenance and can be propagated easily to create multiple plants.
So, if you had a Crown of thorns plant and your friend liked it, but you didn’t know how to propagate, then we have rescued you. We have elaborated 2 great methods on how to propagate Crown of thorns.
Now go and gift this lovely plant to your friends and share with us how did it go!