The plant is a result of grafting the crest-shaped top of a Euphorbia Lactea on the stock and root of a Euphorbia neriifolia, or on the root of a cactus. The plants have their origins from the nurseries of a few experimental horticulturists. Although the grafting process is a little complex, taking care of a successfully grafted plant is a piece of cake in comparison. We shall first look at how the plant is grown and propagated followed by tips on coral cactus care, to help it thrive.
To successfully graft a coral cactus, the following procedure has to be followed:
- A v-shaped cut has to be made at the base of the Euphorbia lactea plant's crest. The cut should curve outward.
- Now the root stock of the cactus or Euphorbia neriifolia has to also be cut in a v-shape. However, the cut must curve inwards.
- Now place the two sections together in such a way that the joint comes together well.
- Cover the joint with grafting wax, to prevent the plant from drying, and tie the plant with rope or twine to hold the two pieces of the plant together till it heals.
- If the two plants are compatible, the graft should completely heal in a few weeks. If you find that the plant has not healed fully, replace the wax and rope. However, be careful during this time, as a little damage can set back the healing process considerably.
- Babies of the coral cactus will eventually grow from the same plant. Cut off these new growths, and dry them for a couple of weeks and pot them. The plants will soon get roots. After this happens, plant the saplings in the soil; however, these new saplings may or may not form crests, and there is no way to force the way these plants will grow. If your new euphorbia does form crests, you may have to repeat the above process all over again.
- Plant the coral cactus plant in a gritty soil which drains easily. You can do this by mixing regular potting soil with an equal amount of sand.
- Do not bury the plant more than root deep. It helps protect the euphorbia from rot.
- The plant can thrive in an arid environment. To artificially stimulate this, place the plant in a place with warm, bright, but indirect sunlight. The ideal temperature around the plant should be 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water the plants intermediately, to keep the soil slightly moist. Excess water causes the plant to start dying. The root and the flesh of the plant start to rot. To avoid this, let the soil completely dry from the previous watering before you pour some again. Burying your finger deep in the soil will give you an idea, about whether you should water it or not.
- Use diluted solutions of fertilizers once during spring followed by once in the fall.
- Regularly turn the plant side which is facing the sun. This prevents the plant from growing lopsided.
- Re-potting the plant is needed as soon as you bring the plant home, because the store-bought container is usually ceramic, which is not suitable for the plant's growth.
- The hardiness zone of this plant is 10-11, so grow the plant accordingly.