Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata


No synonyms are recorded for this species name.


The Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata likely originated in gardens as a cultivated variety. Its original form can be traced back to Central India, Orissa, and South India, but it is now extensively cultivated and adapted in regions like West Bengal, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, and throughout the Malesian area, with the exception of Borneo. Additionally, this exquisite plant is widely grown for ornamental purposes in various tropical regions.


Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata, also known as the “Crested and variegated Oleander Cactus,” is an extraordinary succulent that boasts rapid growth and holds significant value among collectors. This unique plant displays captivating and peculiar sculptural formations, with its stems gracefully fanning out in various directions. The reason why its stem fans out is that it is a crested variety. Crested varieties are the result of a rare phenomenon called “fasciation”. This is an alteration in the cellular division process that results in stems growing only in two opposite directions, creating fan-shaped structures that can curl up to form incredible, brain-like elements. In Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata, in particular, some stems develop stable crests, while others intertwine and cluster together, creating an intriguing visual display. The crested form of this species has the potential to grow exceptionally large, making it a truly spectacular specimen to behold. As these crested plants age, they can reach considerable heights, stretching up to 2-3 meters tall and wide, or even more. The stems and leaves of this remarkable succulent showcase captivating creamy-yellow stripes, further enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal. Blooms are usually absent in this variety because of alterations in the capacity of cellular tissues to produce flowering buds caused by the fasciation. Although, the decorative role is undoubtely played by the crested stems. Another decorative feature of Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata are, in fact, the variegations occurring in the leaves colour: bright green with beautiful yellowish hint -that’s the reason of the epithet “variegata”-. The yellow shades are the result of other genetic mutations that make the plant incapable of producing chlorophyll and create leaves parts coloured in a paler green. This oddities are extremely south after by succulent enthusiasts because they make every specimen unique.


Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata is a low-maintenance and adaptable species that thrives in well-drained soil under full sun exposure. While it requires little attention, younger plants can be grown indoors, where they have the potential to reach impressive heights, even touching the ceiling. Although it is commonly available in crested forms that retain their leafiness for longer periods, the regular forms of this plant are equally attractive and serve as excellent additions to landscaping projects, particularly in smaller gardens. With a moderate growth rate, Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata can transform into a magnificent landscape feature within just 3-5 years. Once established, this long-lived plant is content in its position and soil conditions for an extended period. However, it should be noted that strong winds can pose a challenge, so it is advisable to select a planting location that offers protection from such conditions. This plant flourishes in well-draining soil enriched with a layer of brick and charcoal pieces, topped with sandy loam. When grown in pots, it benefits from an airy growing medium that primarily consists of non-organic materials like clay, pumice, and lava grit, with only a small amount of peat or leaf-mould included. Repotting is best done in late winter or early spring, using relatively small pots. Watering should be regular during the active growing season, from March to September, ensuring that no water accumulates around the roots. In winter, the plant should be kept almost completely dry. While Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata can tolerate moderate shade, it is crucial to gradually acclimate a shade-grown plant to full sun to prevent sunburn. In terms of hardiness, this species is considered frost tender like other Indian Euphorbias, yet it surprisingly exhibits good cold tolerance and thrives in sunny conditions despite being a crested plant. It prefers warmth and a minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F), but with proper care and dry conditions, it can endure temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F). To ensure safe cultivation, it is advisable to avoid freezing temperatures and prevent root chilling. Pruning can be performed for shaping and encouraging branching. Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata is occasionally susceptible to mealy bugs and rarely affected by scale infestations, requiring appropriate pest management measures.


Propagation of Euphorbia neriifolia f. cristata variegata can be carried out only through vegetative propagation. This consists in simply taking a cutting from the plant, allow it to dry for approximately 1 to 2 weeks, and then insert it into the ground. It is essential to choose a dry, loose, and exceptionally well-draining soil for optimal results. Cuttings have the ability to root successfully, especially in warmer weather conditions. While a minimum temperature of 20°C (68°F) is sufficient for rooting, higher temperatures are preferable for faster and more successful establishment.


The etymology of the scientific name “Euphorbia neriifolia” can be traced back to its botanical origins.
The genus name “Euphorbia” is derived from the Greek physician Euphorbus, who was believed to have used plants of this genus for medicinal purposes. The name serves as a tribute to his contributions to the field of medicine.
The specific epithet “neriifolia” combines two Latin words: “nerium” meaning “oleander” and “folium” meaning “leaf.” This name is given to Euphorbia neriifolia due to its resemblance to the leaves of the oleander plant (Nerium oleander).

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