The Crown of Thorns

The Crown of Thorns

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
14 Mar 2018

Crown of Thorns is the common name for Euphorbia milii. This is one of the most popular indoor plants available because it’s so hardy and flowers nearly all year long. Originating from Madagascar this plant becomes thorny and will reach about 50 cm and sometimes up to 1 metre in height. It has succulent, oval-shaped leaves and the flowers are usually red but specimens are available in pink, white or yellow. However, what we notice as the flowers are really bracts (modified leaves) that look like petals, the flowers themselves are small and insignificant between the bracts.

The Euphorbia milii is very easy to grow. It loves sunshine and will reward you with a mass of flowers if it gets enough light. It will still grow well in a semi-shaded location, but the number of flowers will be less. If you’re using this plant as an indoor specimen then it needs a warm room that has masses of natural light – put it near a north facing window for great results.


This plant will also grow well outside, just make sure it doesn’t get too much water and doesn’t get too cold. In a really cold spot, this plant is known to drop its leaves. Watering is important - water and then wait for the top few centimetres of soil to dry out before you water again, the plant needs to be in a well-drained soil. Never let the soil dry out completely.

Most experienced gardeners would have noticed this plant was in the genus Euphorbia and that might have rung a warning bell. This group of plants contains a poisonous sap, which can be an irritant to skin and more importantly the eyes. You need to keep this plant away from young children and away from animals.

The Crown of Thorns is a truly gorgeous plant, give it sun and water and it will reward you with an endless supply of flowers. It’s also a forgiving plant, mistreat it a couple of times and it will still look great but mistreatment (not enough light and too much or too little water) for long periods of time will cause problems. If you don’t have one already, put this plant on your wish list.



The Friends of the Albury Botanic Gardens have plants for sale every Tuesday and Thursday morning 9-30am 12noon at their nursery in the gardens behind the curators cottage.  There is also a plant sale on Sunday 18th March 11am till 2pm at the same location.

Rutherglen & District Garden Club is holding its 29th Annual Flower Show on Sunday 8th April 2018 at the Memorial Hall, High Street, Rutherglen from 12.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. and in conjunction with the Victorian Rose Society will present the Victorian Autumn Country Rose Championship.  $6.00 admission fee includes afternoon refreshment.  Children are admitted free.  The Show will be officially opened and trophies will be presented at 3.00 p.m.



The delicate white bracts on the Crown of Thorns take on the appearance and role of petals.  This plant flowers almost non-stop throughout the year.


Written by

Deborah Delahunty, Teacher of Horticulture at Wodonga TAFE.