Monadenium ellenbecki


The name Monadenium ellenbeckii is actually a synonym of Euphorbia bisellenbeckii. Other synonyms are:

Monadenium ellenbeckii f. caulopodium
Monadenium zavattarii


Monadenium ellenbeckii is native to Ethiopia, Somalia, and northern Kenya, where it inhabits rocky slopes at an altitude range between 1150 and 1800 meters. This climate area, though having severe droughts, has also tropical temperatures and a slightly humid area, if compared to the habitats of other succulent and cacti.


Monadenium ellenbeckii, also called “Octopus arms”, for its much-branched, slender, curved green stem, is a low-growing, cacti-shaped perennial succulent. The serpent-like, slender bright green stems, branch off from a central, erected one. Though it may look like a cacti to an untrained eye, Monadenium ellenbeckii belongs actually to the Euphorbiaceae family and, as we said above, it is a succulent plant. Its stems may reach a length of 1,5 meters, are slightly channeled longitudinally and occasionally produce small, scar-like leaves, sessile and flashy, covered in soft hairs, slightly heart-shaped. The leaves usually group in rosette-like structure at the top o the leaves. Flowers are yellowish-green and not so big (1.5 centimeters long), borne on terminal cymes formed during the summer.


Here are our growing tips for Monadenium ellenbeckii:

Put it in semi-shaded spots, avoiding direct exposure to sunlight.
Always keep it at temperatures above 15 ° C. You can use a warm greenhouse or either simply put it indoors during the Winter.
Watering only during the vegetative period; namely, Spring and Summer, when you’ll have to water once a week. Suspend watering, or either water every 3-4 weeks, during the winter.
Choose a standard soil for cacti, well-drained and rich in minerals. In general, any well-drained soils will do well as this species is quite undemanding, regarding soil necessities. This species, in fact, seems to hate having its substrate wet for extended periods of time.
Fertilize once a year during the vegetative period, using a low-nitrogen fertilizer or any succulent-specific product and diluting it with watering at half the doses recommended on the label.
Use wide pots and repot at least once a year, as this plant tend to form large clumps. 


The propagation of this plant can be carried out either through cuttings or seeds. Sow at temperatures around 20° during the spring. Alternatively, you can make cuttings from the stem sections and then root them in the spring and summer.


Monadeniums have been recently re-classified into the genus Euphorbia, though many collectors prefer to consider it still an indipendent genus and it is still often found labelled as Monadenium on the market.

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