Form: A long-stemmed succulent with a woody root crown.
Leaf retention: Deciduous.
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
Bloom: Spring into summer.
Fruit: Seed capsule.
Leaves: Tiny, red turning to green, yellow or brown, appearing after rain, dropping within weeks,
Stems: Green, jointed, mostly unbranched, upright and straight, or undulating, coated with wax,
photosynthesizing. No thorns.
Wildlife: Attracts hummingbirds.
Toxic / Danger: The sap may irritate skin and will cause an upset stomach.
Origin: The Sonoran Desert of Baja California and Sonora, Mexico.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 10-11 for new stem growth which is severely damaged below 30°F.
9b-11 for old growth which is hardy to 25°F.
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).
In other words, ordinary desert soil.
Fertilize: No. This plant is adapted to the poor quality soil of the desert.
Planting: It is easily grown in containers. It can be grown in USDA zone 9a next to a wall facing
south or west.
Prune: In winter only when over 3-4' high.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings or root division. For cuttings, once the cut end has dried in the shade,
put it into well drained soil. Water lightly every three days, letting the soil dry completely between
waterings. Gradually decrease watering to every two weeks.
Uses: Accent plant.
This plant is a member of the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Another common name is Lady's
The best way to keep this plant from flowering is to  fertilize it,  water it more
than once a week after it is established or  keep it in wet, poorly draining soil.
In its native, very dry, very poor soil desert, monthly rain is a treat.
Do you have additional information or a different
experience for this plant that you would like to share?
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Latest update: February, 2019.