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Pedilanthus tithymaloides

Pronunciation: ped-ee-LAN-thus tith-ee-mal-OY-deez
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Synonym: Euphorbia tithymaloides, Tithymalus tithymaloides
Common Name: Devil's Backbone, Japanese Poinsettia, Slipper Spurge, Redbird Cactus, Christmas Candle
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
  • succulent and cactus
Height to: 6ft (2m)
Width to: 3ft (1m)
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early summer
  • mid summer
  • late summer
Bloom Description: Devil's Backbone (Pedilanthus tithymaloides) bears fleshy red bract-cups, to 1/2" long, yellow green at the bases.
Soil Type: Under glass, grow in soil based potting mix. Outdoors, grow in moderately fertile, sharply frained soil.
Plant Perks:
  • Suitable for Houseplant
  • Container Gardening
Pests and Diseases: Powdery mildew, leaf spots and stem spots can occur.
Propagation: sow Devil's Backbone (Pedilanthus tithymaloides) seed at 66 to 75 degrees F in the spring. Take stem tip cuttings in the summer.
Native to: Florida to Venezuela, West Indies
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Devil's Backbone (Pedilanthus tithymaloides) is an upright, bushy, clump forming, succulent shrub with thin, fleshy to woody, zigzagged stems. Evergreen or deciduous, ovate to elliptic, mid green leaves, to 3in (8cm) long, are keeled and slightly hairy or powdery beneath.

Care: In spring and summer, water moderately and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every month.  Water sparingly in winter.

Source: Various sources including The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA

USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • Any Heat Zone 1 to 210+ Days
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
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