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Coral Cactus

SCENTIFIC NAME: Euphorbia lactea 'Cristata'

KNOWN AS: Crested Elkhorn, Crested Candelabra Plant, Crested Euphorbia

CLIMATE (LOCATION): Africa | Tropical

DESCRIPTION: This plant is two plants in one! The bottom is a Euphorbia neriifolia and the top is a Euphorbia lactea. People graft these plants together to create this curious Frankenstein plant that looks like something from a coral reef!

Easy difficulty & pet toxic

Coral Cactus Plant Care

Lighting

Light Requirement: Full Sun (Bright Direct Light) & High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

Coral cactus plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight. They can tolerate some direct sunlight in the morning or late afternoon, but too much direct sunlight can cause their leaves to burn. In general, it is best to place Coral cactus plants near a west-facing window. It is important to note that these plants are a bit different from other cactus plants, as they require more light and less water.

Watering

Quick Tip: Allow soil to completely dry out before watering.

Coral cactus is a drought-tolerant plant that requires minimal watering to thrive indoors, think classic cactus. These plants prefer well-drained soil that is allowed to dry out completely between waterings. It's important to avoid overwatering, as this can cause the plant to rot and die, this plant is not adapted for very moist environments. Water your coral cactus deeply once every three to four weeks, depending on the conditions in your home and the size of the plant. Check the soil moisture by sticking your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle; if the soil feels dry at that depth, it's time to water. With the right watering techniques, you can help your indoor coral cactus plant thrive for years to come.

Temperature

Preferred Temperature: 60º - 80º

Coral cactus plants prefer warm temperatures, ideally between 60-80°F (15-26°C) during the day and 50-60°F (10-15°C) at night. These plants are native to arid regions, so they can tolerate high temperatures, but it's important to avoid exposing them to extreme heat or direct sunlight, which can scorch their sensitive skin, these cactuses do not like to sunbathe! Avoid placing them near drafty windows or air conditioning vents, as sudden temperature changes can stress the plant and cause damage. In general, maintaining a consistent temperature and avoiding sudden fluctuations is key to keeping your coral cactus healthy and robust.

Humidity

Preferred Humidity: 40 - 60%; Moderate Humidity

The Coral cactus does not require high levels of humidity as it is adapted for desert-like environments. On the other hand, be sure to not let the area around the cactus get too dry though as this can still cause the plant to crack and fall apart. All this means is to be sure not to put the cactus in areas with a draft or near air-conditioners.

Additional Plant Care

Propagation
Coral Cactus plants can be propagated by dividing the plant or by taking stem cuttings. For division, carefully remove the plant from its pot and separate the two plants. Each plant should have its own roots and stem, they need to be able to stand as their own plants. Repot each plant into its own pot with fresh soil and water thoroughly. For stem cuttings, use a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears to cut a stem from the top of the plant. Allow the cutting to dry for a few days, then plant it in well-draining soil. Water the cutting sparingly until it establishes roots. Keep the new plants in bright, indirect light and water moderately. It is important to be careful with the Coral Cactus as they have sharp spines that can cause injury.
Toxicity
The Coral Cactus is toxic to both humans and animals if ingested. The sap of the plant contains a milky white sap that can cause skin irritation, itching, and blistering upon contact. If ingested, it can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in humans and pets. The sap can also cause eye irritation and, in rare cases, blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes. It is important to handle Coral Cactus with care and keep it away from children and pets. In case of accidental ingestion or contact, it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately. A true case of look but don't touch.
Repotting
Coral cactus is a unique plant that requires special care while repotting- mainly, don't get poked! The best time to repot a coral cactus plant is during spring or summer when it is actively growing. The plant should be carefully removed from the existing pot and the roots should be gently untangled. It is important to handle the plant with gloves as it has sharp spines that can cause injury. The plant should be planted in a well-draining soil mix in a new pot that is slightly larger than the existing one. The new pot should have drainage holes to prevent soaking. It is important not to water the plant for a few days after repotting to prevent root rot, the plant needs time to adjust to its new surroundings. The cactus should be placed in a bright, indirect light spot and monitored closely for the next few weeks to ensure that it is adjusting well to its new pot.
Pruning
Coral cactus plants are a unique type of cactus that is actually a graft between two different cacti species. Pruning a coral cactus plant is essential to maintain its shape and prevent overcrowding of the cactus. The best time to prune a coral cactus plant is in the spring or summer months. Start by wearing gloves to protect your hands from pokes. Use a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears to make clean cuts. Begin by trimming any dead, damaged, or diseased stems at their base, being careful not to damage the healthy parts of the plant. Next, you can selectively prune back any overly long or out-of-line stems to keep the plant's shape compact and tidy. Remember to sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol after each use to prevent the spread of disease and rot.
Fertilizing
"Coral cactus plants are actually a combination of two different cactus species, and they have slightly different fertilization requirements. The green cactus portion of the plant is photosynthetic and requires fertilizer, while the coral-shaped portion is a non-photosynthetic graft and does not require fertilizer. To fertilize the green cactus portion, use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) during the growing season (spring and summer). Dilute the fertilizer to half-strength and apply it every two to four weeks, depending on the instructions on the fertilizer package. During the dormant season (fall and winter), reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month or stop fertilizing. Always water the plant thoroughly before fertilizing to avoid fertilizer burn, and avoid getting fertilizer on the coral-shaped portion of the plant as it can damage or kill it."
Soil
Coral cactus plants prefer a well-draining, sandy soil mix that is slightly acidic to neutral. A mix of cactus or succulent soil with perlite and coarse sand works well for these plants, like they would have in nature. The coarse texture of the soil allows for adequate drainage, while the perlite and sand help prevent the soil from becoming too tight. Additionally, adding organic matter, such as compost or peat moss, to the soil mix can help provide necessary nutrients and improve moisture retention.
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Hanging Heights

Coral Cactus Lighting Requirements: Full Sun (Bright Direct Light) & High Light (Bright Indirect Light)

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