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Crown Of Thorns

Today's hybrid varieties of Crown of Thorns bear slight resemblance to the skinny, prickly, dried-looking plant that sat for years in my mother-in-law's kitchen window. As I recall, it consisted of several unfriendly thorny stalks about a foot high with a cluster of tear-shaped green leaves on the end. Every so often, a new green stem would sprout out of the crown and produce matching pairs of bright coral flowers. It always amazed me that such a dried up scrawny plant was actually alive enough to muster up the pretty and delicate blossoms. A THORN IN THE HAND I had one of my own for a few years but it didn't fare well with curious toddlers in the house. As a matter of fact, the toddlers didn't fare well either with the Crown of Thorns in the house - they are pretty unforgiving when grasped even lightly by tender little fingers. Fortunately, the "toddlers" are forgiving as evidenced by my pretty plant, upper left. My youngest who is now ( ... dare I say it?) 39, surprised me recently by having this hard-to-find gem delivered for my birthday. Since I'd been searching garden stores and nurseries for months, I was simply ecstatic at this wonderful surprise! The healthy green leaves hide a stem that is thickly covered with vicious thorns - they should be registered as a deadly weapon! "Euphorbia millii" or "spurge" as it is called by those in the know, is not related to the Crown of Thorns that Jesus wore at His Crucifixion (which was crafted from a thorny bush). Nevertheless, the ornamental Crown of Thorns is not something you would like to have wrapped around your forehead. It also contains a milky-white sticky sap which is reported to be quite poisonous. Since these plants are propagated by cutting, it is possible that you could get drops of the sap on your hands and possibly ingest it. Therefore, please - always wash your hands thoroughly along with any knife or cutting utensil that might possibly be used in food preparation at a later date. FORGIVE AND FORGET Now that you've gotten by the disclaimers, we find the new hybrid varieties of Crown of Thorns to be indeed lovely to look at, if NOT delightful to hold. Crown of Thorns is very popular at Easter and may be hard to find in usual retail outlets in the spring. While they may not be descendants of the Biblical Crown of Thorns, they still maintain an aura of their own and should certainly be approached with reverence and respect! Remembering the scrawny specimen that my mother-in-law had, I marvel that someone took the interest to develop the many beautiful plants that are available today.  They are truly worth the effort to find and enjoy. CARING FOR YOUR CROWN OF THORNS: Euphorbia varieties are classified as succulents and, as with all succulents, may be somewhat difficult to grow successfully since their natural habitat is unique to the species. Some like a warm, rich and moist soil, some like it drier, sandier and cooler. Our Crown of Thorns is very happy in a sunny Southeast corner surrounded with an assortment of other ornamentals. In the photo above, the plant is in a loose sandy soil with humus added, and in a well-drained plastic pot set within a decorative basket. The other plants are a Christmas cactus and an African violet. All of these are watered when the soil is dry to the touch, about once a week. (The African violet is watered from the roots by adding water to the drip-dish.) They all seem to like the company they keep as all bloom appropriately and look healthy. Crown of Thorns is fairly disease-resistant but may be susceptible to spider mites, mealy bugs, fungus and mildew. With proper attention to its habitat and soil requirements, you shouldn't have any infestations of bugs or problems with atmospheric-borne diseases. Just remember that they need good drainage and warm air circulation. If any other problems arise, Esprit is always here to help you - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If any other problems arise, Esprit is always here to help you - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . See also our FACs and FAQs pages.