Euphorbia trigona cv. Royal Red
E. trigona is native to Angola, Congo, Gabon, Malawi, Zaïre
E. trigona is an attractive succulent belonging to the Euphorbiaceae botanical family. The stem is erect, quadrangular and can reach up to 25 cm in height and 8 cm in diameter. The plant branches from the base and grows in clumps. The stem is woody at the base, dark green in color variegated with reddish stripes. The 3-4 ribs are fleshy and made of toothed tubercles. The tubercles bear the leaves. The leaves are obovate to lanceolate, deciduous and magenta-red in color. The stipules are turned into reddish-brown, short spines. The plant has never been known to flower.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 8°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The specific name comes from the Greek “trigonus” that means 3 angled in allusion to the triangular branches. Species of the Euphorbiacee family normally if are damaged, exude a white milky sap, called latex. Many plants produce latex, but in the Euphorbiacee this latex is often poisonous and may irritate skin. The poisonousness is due to some alkaloids so it is best to keep the plants away from children or pets.
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