Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

The Euphorbia milii is a succulent plant

La Euphorbia milii It is a plant that, despite having its stems well armed with thorns, is widely cultivated in patios and terraces. It has flowers of very varied colors, and as it hardly needs watering it can be a good gift for those people who do not have much time to tend their pots but who are looking for one that also has a high ornamental value.

It is even ideal for growing at the entrance of the house, in a room where there is a lot of light. Therefore, It is a succulent that, in all probability, you can keep for several years.

Features Euphorbia milii

The crown of thorns is an evergreen shrub

Image - Flickr / fotoculus

It is an evergreen shrub native to Madagascar that grows up to 150 centimeters in height.. It belongs to the genus Euphorbia, and is known as the crown of Christ or crown of thorns, since its stems are thorny. These spines are short, 1-2 centimeters long, but also straight and sharp, so care must be taken when handling them. In addition, both the stems and leaves contain latex, which is a white watery substance that is also irritating if it comes into contact with the skin.

The leaves are green, lanceolate, and remain on the stems for several months, until little by little they are replaced by new ones. Flowers bloom in spring, and they are grouped in inflorescences which arise from the upper part of the plant. These can be red, pink, yellow, or white.

How do you care for the crown of thorns?

La Euphorbia milii it is a plant suitable for beginners. It tolerates high temperatures and is not too bad for cold (but frost does). Let us know below how to take care of it:


The crown of thorns is a shrub that it must be kept in a sunny exposition. If that is not possible, it must be located in a place where there is a lot of clarity, the more the better. Of course, that light must always be natural.

In the event that we want to grow it indoors, we will place it near a window facing east, which is where the sun rises. In addition, we have to rotate the pot on a daily basis, since otherwise some stems will tend to grow more than others.

Soil or substrate

The flowers of the Euphorbia milii have showy colored flowers

The main enemy of this plant is excess humidity. For this reason, it has to be planted in light soils that can absorb water quickly and filter it also at a good rate. In this way we will also ensure that the air can circulate well between the grains of the earth and between the roots, helping them to perform their functions normally.

Therefore, we recommend using cactus soil (note: euphorbias are not cacti plants, but many species like our protagonist need the same type of soil as they do) that you can buy here, or make our own mixture composed of black peat and perlite in equal parts.


You have to water the Euphorbia milii only when the ground is dry. It is afraid of excess humidity, so if we have doubts about watering, the best we can do is check if the substrate needs water or not. There are several ways to do this: with a digital meter, with a stick, or even by weighing the pot before and after watering.

In general, it has to be watered every 3 or 4 days during the summer, which is when it is warmest and, also, when the soil remains moist for less time. In spring, autumn and especially in winter the frequency of irrigation will be lower; in fact, if the temperatures drop below 10ºC, it will be necessary to water very little, every ten or fifteen days.


The Euphorbia milii is a thorny shrub

Image - Flickr / Dinesh Valke

The fertilizer of the crown of thorns it has to be done in spring and until summer. For this purpose we can use fertilizers in liquid format, as they are the ones that are absorbed the fastest. Of course, you have to read the instructions for use first and follow them to the letter, since you tend to think that if you add more than the indicated amount, you will get it to grow more and faster, when really what is going to happen is just the opposite: that it stops growing due to having suffered serious damage to the roots.

As fertilizers it is advisable to use, for example, those specific for cacti and other succulents. Today there are some that are ecological (for sale here), and therefore very interesting.


La Euphorbia milii multiplies by cuttings in spring. Make a clean cut, and impregnate the base of the stem with rooting hormones in powder. Then plant it in a pot of about 7 or 8 centimeters in diameter with a mixture of equal parts peat and perlite, or with substrate for succulents. Finally, it is watered and left in a bright place.

You have to water once or twice a week so that the cutting does not dehydrate. It will root in one to two weeks.


The crown of thorns can be grown outdoors throughout the year as long as temperatures remain between a maximum of 40ºC and -2ºC. These frosts have to be punctual, and of short duration.

Where to buy?

If you still don't have your Euphorbia milii, click here:

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