Q. How do I propagate crown of thorns?
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) can be propagated from cuttings. Water your plants one or two days before taking cuttings--this will ensure that the cuttings have enough water in their stems. With a sterile cutting tool, cut off the top 3-4 inches of the stem. Choosing longer stems will help shape your plant. Make sure the stems you cut have leaves on them. Spray the cut end with cool water to stop the sap from flowing. The sap can irritate your skin and stain clothes and furniture; you may want to wear gloves and protect your eyes.
Place cuttings on a paper towel for 2-3 days to give the wound time to callous over--a step needed to help the cutting root. Remove most of the leaves on the cuttings, leaving on 3 or 4. Keep the cuttings out of direct sun at this time. Pot up in a soil mix that has good drainage. You might hear about different mixes, but good drainage is the important point. Adding horticultural sand (not beach sand) or perlite will improve drainage.
Once the pots are filled with potting mixture, make a hole with a pencil or your finger about 1 1/2 inches deep. If you have rooting hormone powder, pour a little in a small container and dip the cut end into it--just enough to coat it, not more. Dispose of any remaining hormone powder. Place the powdered, cut end into the hole, then gently firm the soil around the cutting. Place the pot in an area with bright light but out of direct sun.
Water the cutting sparingly after you are finished. Then water every few days, but only enough to keep the soil damp. (Do not water as you normally would because the new plant has no roots yet to absorb the water from the soil and you might cause rot.) It will take several weeks before the cutting roots out and gets established. Once you start to see new growth you can begin to water normally. That's it!
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service