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About Euphorbiaceae

Cultivation - Watering

The idea that succulents grow in dry places is not quite correct. The majority grows in areas where water may not be available in certain periods or only as fog or dew. As far as possible, the requirements of individual species need to be considered. When it is hot and plants are growing, they may need as much water as ordinary plants.

The choice of pot has a bearing on watering. Basically there are two types:

  1. Unglazed earthenware pots were for some time the only type available. These allow water to evaporate through the sides, and also allow air to reach the roots, discouraging rot, a particular advantage for moisture sensitive species. Roots can however be damaged by cold due to evaporation.

  2. Glazed earthenware and plastic pots prevent evaporation through the sides. This means they need less watering, but increase the risk of roots being damaged by excess moisture. Plastic pots can also get very hot in the sun and cause roots to be burnt.

The golden rules for euphorbias are as follows:

  1. If in doubt, DON’T water!

  2. Just because euphorbias can survive drought, does not mean that they need it. In fact in the growing season regular and copious watering is required.

  3. Most species do not appreciate dust dry soil in the resting season, and need a little water from below, or even carefully from above.

  4. It is better to water heavily once, than give little drops often. Heavy watering wets the whole pot of soil encouraging a healthy root growth.

  5. It helps to add more drainage material to the soil of moisture-sensitive species when potting. This means that plants can all be treated the same when watering.
The best time to water in the warm season is evening as plants take up more water when it is cool, and less water evaporates away. Early morning watering is also acceptable and may even be better in the winter months.
Jatropha variifolia
Jatropha variifolia



Soil and Feeding



Producing, harvesting and sowing Seed

Vegetative Propagation