in Tucson, Phoenix,
and Southern California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, and Southern California

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Euphorbia lomelii: Slipper Plant / Lady's Slipper

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Form: Succulent with a woody root crown.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen, but new stem growth severely damaged below 30°F. Old growth hardy to 25°F.
Growth rate: Slow.
Mature Size: 3-6' high and wide.
Flowers: Red bracts, oddly shaped like a slipper or hummingbird, contain one female and several male flowers.
Bloom: Spring into summer.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Tiny, red turning to green, yellow or brown, appearing after rain, dropping within weeks, often missing.
Stems: No thorns, jointed, mostly unbranched, upright and straight or undulating, coated with wax, green, photosynthesizing.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: Sap may irritate skin and will cause upset stomach.
Origin: Sonoran Desert of Baja California and Sonora, Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 10-11 new growth. 9b-11 old growth. Can be grown in zone 9a next to a south- or west-facing wall.
Sunset climate zones: 12-13.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to part shade.
Water once established: Once a month to weekly depending on location, temperature, and pot size.
Soil: Very well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.1-8.5 (slightly acidic to alkaline). Ordinary desert soil.
Fertilize: No. This plant is adapted to the poor quality soil of the desert.
Planting: Easily grown in containers.
Prune: In winter only when over 3-4' high.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings or root division. For cuttings, once cut end has dried in the shade, put it into well drained soil. Water lightly every three days, letting soil dry completely between waterings, gradually decreasing to every two weeks.
Uses: Accent plant.

The former botanical name was Pedilanthus macrocarpus. Another common name is Slipper Flower. The best way to keep this plant from flowering is to [1] fertilize it, [2] water it more than once a week after it is established or [3] keep it in wet, poorly draining soil. In its native, very dry desert, monthly rain is a treat.

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