Coral Cactus

  • ​Common Name: Coral Cactus (other common names: crested euphorbia, elkhorn, candelabra plant, false cactus, euphorbia, dragon bones, crested candelabra plant, crested elkhorn)
  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia lactea ‘Cristata’
  • Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
  • Origin: India and Sri Lanka
  • Height: up to 2’
  • Width: 8” – 16”
  • Growth: slow
  • Zone: 10B - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun to Partial shade (rotate so that the plant does not become lopsided.
  • Salt Tolerance:  unknown
  • Soil/PH/Texture: use a cactus soil mix, it will have better drainage than regular potting soil. Another choice is making your own mix with a combination of five parts potting soil, one-part coir (coconut fiber) and two parts pumice. Coir has a balanced pH, so it makes an ideal ingredient for a cactus soil mix.
  • Soil Moisture: likes well-drained, moist soil, If the top two to four inches are dry when you stick your finger into the soil, or the “cabbage” leaves get droopy, water the soil thoroughly until it drains out through the bottom, while avoiding wetting the foliage. Overwatering can kill the Coral Cactus so it is important to not have a schedule for watering but checking if it needs any at all.
  • Drought Tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: Mealybugs, scale insects, occasionally spider mites, can get powdery mildew, root rot or other fungal rots.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: The name of this plant “Coral Cactus” is misleading - it is actually the combination of two succulent plants that form one fan-shaped plant. It has a crest (the coral-shaped part) and a cactus root (the Euphorbia neriifolia) underneath it. It resembles a large piece of coral with crinkled, cabbage-like deciduous leaves that have a range of colors on their leaf edges green, ruby, purple, yellow, pink, or white). It has aggregated clusters of flowers called a cyathium that are reduced in size, which is only found in the genus Euphorbia. The coral cactus flower is tiny, but may be pink or purple in coloration if a flower appears, this usually only happens on mature plants, but may never occur at all.
  • Propagation: by stem cuttings in the spring, make sure to dry them out for a few weeks before placing them in pots. To graft your own Coral Cactus, you would have to have a Euphorbia neriifolia plant and a Euphorbia lactea plant.
  • Wildlife: unknown
  • Facts: produces a milky sap called latex that is toxic and can be considered a mild irritant to very poisonous.
  • Designer Considerations: Can be used as an accent plant in any rock, cactus, or succulent garden beds, as a houseplant and is great for xeriscaping or as a container plant on a patio.

Location


Coral Cactus

Friends of the Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens
CALL US +1.772.337.1959