Houseplant Euphorbia ingens, beautiful but poisonous
Make no mistake, the Euphorbia ingens looks like a cactus but it isn’t. Like cacti, this plant has spines, but it belongs to the plant genus Euphorbiaceae or the spurge family. The somewhat whimsical shape of the Euphorbia ingens fits perfectly in a modern, sleek interior. This plant looks very beautiful in a glossy black or white decorative pot. He is not very demanding in terms of care.
- Euphorbia or spurge
- Euphorbia ingens
- The Euphorbia ingens is poisonous
- Propagate the Euphorbia ingens
Euphorbia or spurge
The Euphorbia or spurge belongs to the plant family Euphorbiaceae or spurge family. This plant genus has about 2300 species that are spread all over the world. A number of them are grown as house plants. The most famous are the poinsettia and the honey locust. The spurge family also includes cactus-like plants such as the euphorbia ingens.
The Euphorbia ingens is a hip, beautiful plant and looks great in a modern interior. It grows upright like a column and the branches give it the shape of a tree. As a houseplant it does not need much space. In the wild it can grow into a tree of 10 to 12 meters high.
Because of its shape and the spines, it is often thought that the Euphorbia ingens is a cactus. It is a succulent but not a cactus. How does the Euphorbia ingens differ from a real cactus?
- The big difference with a cactus is in the sap inside the plant. Cacti, which live in an arid climate, have a reservoir inside to store moisture during periods of extreme drought. In cacti, that moisture consists of water, in the Euphorbia ingens, on the other hand, there is a milky moisture. Hence the Dutch name spurge.
- The Euphorbia ingens is originally an African plant, while cacti grow in America.
- The thorns grow straight from the leaf. In cacti, the spines grow on a kind of pillow-shaped nodule or leaf cushion (areole).
- The plant genus Euphorbia owes its name to the Greek physician Euphorbus, the personal physician to King Juba II of Numidia (1st century BC). Euphorbus is said to have successfully used a plant from the Euphorbia family as a medicine. As a thank you, the king named the entire plant genus after his doctor.
- Ingens is Latin and means ‘big, huge’. In nature this plant is indeed gigantic.
- The Euphorbia ingens is also sometimes called cowboy cactus called because you often see him in the background in Western movies.
- Also the name candelabra tree is used because the shape is reminiscent of an upside-down chandelier.
The Euphorbia ingens is poisonous
The milky moisture inside the plant is poisonous and is very irritating to the skin and eyes. So always wear gloves and glasses when repotting or propagating. If you do get juice on your hands, wash them carefully with soap and water and do not rub your eyes.
The Euphorbia ingens is originally a plant that grows in a tropical climate. So give it a sunny spot, preferably at a south-facing window. He likes direct sunlight and a temperature between 25 ° and 30 °. In winter it has a rest period and then you better put it in a cool room. The temperature may drop to 12 ° and lower without any problems. Due to the fact that it is a poisonous plant, it must be placed out of the reach of children and pets.
This plant does not require much care. It is a succulent, so use water sparingly and ensure good drainage. The roots must not remain wet. It grows in both plastic and terracotta pots, but there must be holes in the bottom for drainage. Under the pot you put a saucer or you put the pot in a beautiful decorative pot. Only water when the root ball is completely dry. In the summer when it is really hot, you can water every 2 weeks, preferably with rainwater or water at room temperature. Pour enough until the water runs out of the holes, then discard the excess. During the rest period in winter (from November to March) moderate watering once a month is enough.
Propagate the Euphorbia ingens
Propagation should be done in the spring. Cut a piece off the side shoots with a sharp knife (always with gloves on!). Hold the cut piece under running water to stop the milk that flows out. Let the piece dry for two weeks in a shady spot and then plant it in cactus soil. Do not water until roots have formed.