Slipper plant

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Cactus & Succulent Garden

Slipper plant

​Euphorbia lomelii

  • ​Common Name: Slipper Plant (other common names: Lousewort, Euphorbia, Desert Pencil Bush)
  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia lomelii or the old name Pedilanthus macrocarpus
  • Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
  • Origin: North America – Mexico, Baja
  • Height: 4’ – 6’
  • Width: 6’ – 8’
  • Growth: slow
  • Zone: 9A - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun – Partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  unknown
  • Soil/PH/Texture: not particular about soil pH but is also stated it prefers mildly acidic – mildly alkaline soil (pH 6.1 – 7.8) add organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole, if in a pot feed with half-strength fertilizer monthly.
  • Soil Moisture: little water required once established, except during the heat and during growing season, water thoroughly when the top couple inches of soil are dry but do not let them sit in water or they will get rot root.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate - high
  • Pests/Diseases: hardly ever have pest or disease issues, watch for mealy bugs, white flies, scale, spider mites and some mildew.
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: The stems are tapered like a candle at the tips and enveloped by a waxy substance called Candelilla (looks almost as if it is frosted), which stands for "little candle". The plant spreads, new stems emerging from under the ground to make tight clumps that can be up to 3' feet wide. In mid-summer into fall, leaves occasionally appear, 3/8” – 1” in length, but drop quickly because they are drought deciduous. The unusual orange-red slipper-shaped flowers emerge (also described as bird shaped), appear along the stems and are usually followed by small reddish fruit blooms that are yellow or red in color.
  • Propagation: by dividing rhizomes, corms, bulbs, or tubers, or by leaf or stem cuttings
  • Wildlife: attracts hummingbirds
  • Facts: plant can cause allergic reaction or skin irritation when handling because the milky sap is toxic.
  • Designer Considerations: use in mass plantings in a garden bed or against a wall, as a container plant for your patio, and are great for xeriscaping.