Thursday, January 15, 2009

GBBD, January 2009

The story is that Crown of Thorn, Euphorbia splendens var. milii, blooms two times a year - at Christmas and again at Easter. Mine does bloom then - but it also blooms almost continually in deep South Texas. This succulent is related to the poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, and exudes sticky white sap from any cut surface. (Take care when working with sappy plants, as some people break out in blisters where this sap has touched their skin)The large thorns for which this plant is named is obvious on the stems. When I repot this plant, I fold a number of layers of newspaper to wrap around the stems and handle the plant with.
Not only is the white sap sticky, but the blooms on this variety are also sticky! The mottled color of the petals that you see in this close-up is not usual for this plant. Its blooms are usually a solid color. My pot of miniature Crown of Thorn, Euphorbia milii 'Mini-Bell', is also full of blooms. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out of juice before I could get the shot.

Kalanchoe, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, is beginning to bloom. The short days of winter tell this Madagascar native to bloom. In the Valley, they are easily propogated from cuttings (even a cutting as small as a single leaf!). Be sure to let your cuttings heal over a bit before you put them in the ground. No special rooting compound or potting soil is needed. Be careful not to overwater them as this will turn them to mush!

And since, it appears that reds are what's in bloom in my garden this month, here's a shot of a Jatropha, Jatropha integerrima.
Bougainvillea and Poinsettia are other plants that love the short days (or the long nights) of winter. Their bracts are becoming quite colorful right now.
To see what is blooming this week in gardens around the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens


Anonymous said...

It always amazes me when so of the prickliest, most inhospitable plants bloom such beautiful flowers. I love it!

Annie in Austin said...

Hi Mary Beth,

All your blooms look bright and tropical- if there was still space on my window shelf I'd look for a Kalanchoe blossfeldiana - been years since I grew one. Is the Jatropha planted in the ground or a container? I bought a small Spicy Jatropha last fall and put it in the shed during our recent cold snap because I wasn't sure how hardy it is.

Happy GBBD!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Annie at

Carol Michel said...

Oh, yes, I hate having to repot the crown of thorns, too.

Lovely red blooms, thanks for joining in for bloom day.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Mary Beth said...

HILERY - I guess if you have to sport huge thorns, you should be able to have beautiful blooms!

ANNIE - Spicy Jatropha is pretty tender. Mine are all in the ground - they will burn back with a few hours of 30 degree temps, but have bounced back in the spring. We are lucky in what we can grow down here - I LOVE Kalanchoes but know they become mush when grown in the ground north of us.

CAROL - I'm just glad that Crown of Thorns likes a crowded pot!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I knew Texas and Florida had more in common than cactus and cowboy boots! All of the reds you mentioned do nicely here. I have several jatropha, which bloom prettily all year long ... except maybe today, when they're recovering from our freeze. But troopers that they are, I have no doubt they'll be back. Crown of thorns is scary (ouch!) but I may give kalanchoe a try!