Euphorbia Milii "Crown of Thorns"


To 4 feet

Hardy to USDA Zone 9

Full Sun


E. milii's common name refers to the story of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. Many believe that his "Crown of Thorns" was made from the woody stems of this plant. Though native to Madagascar, there is evidence that E. milii may have been introduced to the Middle East before Christ's time.


E. milii is a woody, succulent shrub which typically reaches a mature height of 3’ – 4’ tall, though it can reach up to 6’ tall in its native habitat of Madigascar. This Euphorbia grows best in a gritty soil with good drainage and will bloom best with regular watering. As with most succulents it is best to let the soil dry out between watering, but an extended dry period will likely result in leaf drop. Euphorbias like full, direct sunlight year round, and must be brought indoors in the winter. This plant produces large, glossy leaves on the new growth which then fall off as the wood matures to reveal the thick brown stems, covered in sharp spines which can reach an inch long! What most people perceive to be the flowers of E. milii are actually bright, showy bracts which attract insects to the rather inconspicuous yellow-green flowers in the middle. These bracts are most commonly a dark reddish pink, but can also be a paler pink, white, or yellow.

E. milii can be propagated by 4” – 6” long stem cuttings, which should be left to dry for 2-3 days before planting in a coarse potting soil kept just moist enough to prevent the cutting from drying out. Wear gloves and do not get the sap in your eyes or mouth! Euphorbias contain a milky white latex sap which is caustic and can cause irritation or rashes if it comes in direct contact with skin, and is poisonous if ingested.