Sunday, August 24, 2008

African Milk Plant

Years ago, maybe 20 years ago even, my Mom gave me a small plant to put inside my tiny apartment. I didn't want anything that required a lot of fussing over, but I did want a house plant, something green, of some kind. It was a baby of a plant that Mom had received from her sister. I didn't even know the name of it at the time, but it was happy with sporadic water and some sunlight. It grew slowly.

Now it is pretty big and top heavy and is prone to tipping over, which it sadly often does. I've found that it is not a cactus, but a succulent, and is an African Milk Plant (Euphorbia trigona). I haul it outside in the summer, where it loves the heat and humidity and sunshine, and inside for the winter, when it goes dormant.

I wonder what will happen to it if it gets much bigger and I can't haul it outside in the summer because it is too tall and too heavy. It won't be happy all year round in the house, and I don't have a sunroom where it could stay year round and get enough light. Maybe I need to donate it to someone who does have a sunroom where it could stay in one place? I do have a couple of babies from it, the smaller of which is about the size of the plant when my Mom gave it to me years ago:

Oh, and it's supposed to be good luck to give one of these as a gift, so 20 years late I'd like to say, "Thanks Mom for the good luck gift! But what do I do with it now?"


Anonymous said...

Great plant! I'd suggest repotting it in a heavier pot, being sure to center the plant in the pot. Not a bigger pot, but a heavier pot. Use a soil mix for cactus that drains well, maybe mixing in a little regular indoor potting soil. And consider removing some of the brances to also help balance out the plant. I think if you do these things you can stop the plant from tipping over. Good luck.

Durham Bull Pen said...

Thanks for the tips!

If the pot and soil and plant gets any heavier, I'm not sure the thing can be lifted and taken inside anymore. I do have cactus mix for the potting soil, and some gravel mixed in for drainage (and for further heaviness). Even a brick for heaviness. The root/bottom of the plant kind of curves at the bottom (under the soil) so that the plant has to sit in the pot that way unfortunately.

I may have to remove some of the branches to see if that does help. They easily root to make new little plants, so that's good.

Anonymous said...

I have one that was given to me several years ago. It was about 4 feet tall., I think. he first summer I, too, put it outside. Well, in Wisconsin we have awful winters, so I brought it in the house in early fall and put it in a corner next to my fireplace, which has windows nearby. It has gotten so big I can't move it anymore, so I keep it inside. By big, I mean about 12 feet tall. Luckily, we have a sloped ceiling, so it has about 3 more feet to grow. I gad a contractor put an O ring in the fireplace stone so I could tie it up to keep it from tipping over.