Pedilanthus: growing and care

Table of contents:

Pedilanthus: growing and care
Pedilanthus: growing and care

Description of pedilanthus, basic requirements for care, recommendations for transplantation and reproduction, pest and disease control, types of pedilanthus. Pedilanthus (Pedilanthus). The plant takes the form of a low shrub or tree, belongs to the Euphorbiaceae nepotism, which has about 15 species of representatives. It is a succulent plant capable of collecting water in its stems and leaves. The native habitat is all territories of the American continent. Pedilanthus varieties are very different from each other, since the areas in which this plant is found are very diverse. The name itself comes from the merger of the Greek words "pedilon" - a shoe and "anthos" - a flower, and this was facilitated by the appearance of the inflorescences of the plant. Sometimes, due to the bizarre bends of the stems and shoots, some types of pedilanthus bear the dissonant name "the line of the devil", and there are those that are called "Christmas candles".

In its natural growing environment, the plant can reach two meters in height. When grown indoors, its size is more modest. The stem can be up to 1 cm thick and looks quite fleshy.

The flowering process begins with the arrival of the winter months. The buds are shaded with pink-red tones, the edges of the bud are wrapped and look like a woman's shoe. From the very edge, multiple stamens are visible, which are held on the pistils, or simply the bud has a large elongation at the very tip from below. Inflorescences are umbrella-shaped and reach 3 cm in length.

The color of the stems ranges from deep emerald to gray-green. Pedilanthus leaf plates are distinguished by their glossiness and unnaturalness. The shape of the leaves is elliptical with sharp edges at the elongated edges, they have a wavy edge. The petioles are rather short and completely absent. The leaf plates are arranged alternately on the stem. The size of the sheet is 10 cm in length and 3 cm in width. The color of the leaves can be either greenish or light green. Some types of pedilanthus are slightly pubescent, while others are completely naked. During the dormant period, the leaf mass can be discarded.

Like all euphorbiases, pedilanthus produces milky sap when the stem is cut, which is poisonous enough and can cause burns to the skin, therefore, precautions should be taken when caring for the plant.

Recommendations for indoor pedilanthus cultivation

Pedilanthus color
Pedilanthus color
  • Lighting. Pedilanthus is very fond of bright diffused light, but does not tolerate direct sunlight during lunch hours. It is best to place the plant pot on those windowsills where the sun shines at dawn or dusk. If the pedilanthus is on the south side, it is necessary to shade it with light curtains, gauze or paper. During the autumn-winter period, the plant will have to install artificial supplementary lighting to lengthen the daylight hours. When the temperature starts to allow, you can take the pedilanthus out into the fresh air, but try to find a place so that the scorching midday rays of the sun do not shine on it, and it is also necessary that the plant does not get rainfall.
  • Content temperature. Summer temperatures for pedilanthus vary from 20 to 26 degrees. In winter, the plant requires temperatures to drop to 13 degrees. This will be a period of winter dormancy (indicators 13-16 degrees). If this is not foreseen, then flowering does not occur. Elevated temperatures, coupled with low air humidity during this period, negatively affect the appearance of the plant. The pedilanthus stalk begins to elongate ugly upward and the deciduous mass begins to drop. But it must also be borne in mind that this plant, even at the winter temperatures it needs, can sprinkle a little with leaves and stop growing, but this is a normal wintering process. Drafts are extremely damaging to pedilanthus.
  • Permissible air humidity. It is not worth spraying the plant, only when the thermometer shows a significant increase in temperatures, then you can wipe the leafy plates with a sponge or soft cloth dipped in water or spray with soft water. The problem of dry air in apartments due to central heating batteries does not affect the pedilanthus in any way. It can simply be kept a little further away from the heaters. If the air humidity has significantly decreased, then it is possible to place vessels with water next to the pedilanthus pot so that, evaporating, it slightly raises these indicators.
  • Watering. If the temperature indicators began to rise with the arrival of spring, the pedilanthus must be watered abundantly as soon as the top layer of soil in the pot dries out. Watering frequency can vary from 3 to 5 times a week. With the arrival of the autumn-winter period, it is necessary to water the plant less often, but the pedilanthus will not tolerate excessive drought, although it will be able to save itself for some time with the moisture that has accumulated in the stems and leaves. It is necessary to water it with soft water, which is obtained by boiling or settling with tap water, filtration can also be carried out to remove salts and lime impurities. A succulent plant can signal that it lacks moisture by lowering and then dropping the foliage.
  • Top dressing for pedilanthus. From mid-spring to early autumn, the plant must be fed monthly with special fertilizers for cacti or succulents. During the dormant period, the pedilanthus does not need feeding. The main thing is that there is no nitrogen in the composition of fertilizers, its presence will lead to the death of the plant and lead to the onset of putrefactive processes of the root system.
  • Pruning a plant. In order for the pedilanthus to branch well and its appearance is more decorative, there is a need to carry out annual pruning of strongly elongated shoots. This procedure is mainly performed when the pedilanthus is still young and pruning will restrain its growth.
  • Transplantation and selection of soil for pedilanthus. The plant must be transplanted during the spring months or if the roots are completely entwined with the potted soil provided. The root system of the pedilanthus is quite compact. The new transplant pot is selected so that the height and diameter are the same.

The soil for the plant must be selected light enough with good water and air permeability. Although pedilanthus is not at all picky about the substrate. You can choose ready-made mixtures for cacti and succulents, the main thing is that there is good drainage in the pot. Crushed polystyrene, coarse sand or fine expanded clay (pebbles) are poured at the bottom of the pot. In the pot itself, holes must be made for the drainage of moisture, it is also necessary to ensure that the water that has flowed into the pan does not stagnate and bloom there. You can also prepare your own soil mixture for pedilanthus based on the following components:

  • land from rotted foliage (2 parts);
  • sod land (2 parts);
  • coarse sand (1, 5–2).

Tips for breeding pedilanthus at home

Pedilanthus stalk planted in the soil
Pedilanthus stalk planted in the soil

Often, the reproduction of a cactus occurs using cuttings and, extremely rarely, using seed.

If the plant propagates by cuttings, then for them you can use the apical stems of the plant left over from planned cuts. The length of the workpiece should be at least 8 cm. Then the cuttings are dried before planting for about 2 days. For rooting, a substrate of sand and perlite is used, at a temperature of about 20-25 degrees (it is even recommended to slightly warm up the sand before planting). The planting mixture must be dry. After planting the cuttings, the container in which they are located must be covered with a plastic bag or glass (this will save the planting material from rot and create the conditions for a mini-greenhouse). Rooting temperature should fluctuate between 20-25 degrees. Once the cuttings have produced enough roots, they must be transplanted into a potting soil suitable for adult pedilanthus. Rooting can also be carried out in water, only for this, the cuttings are dipped into a vessel with boiled water (20-23 degrees) and periodically renewed. Rooting takes place for 2-3 weeks. It is necessary to work with pedilanthus cuttings with gloves because of its poisonous juice. You can plant cuttings in a permanent substrate, several units in one pot so that the future plant looks more magnificent.

Potential Pedilanthus Pests and Grow Difficulties


If the air in the room where the plant is located becomes sufficiently dry, then this can contribute to the defeat of spider mites, aphids, mealybugs or whiteflies. For starters, you can treat the stems and leaf plates with a soap or oil solution, and also use an alcohol solution of calendula or ammonia diluted in water.

For example, 200 g of laundry soap, grated on a coarse grater, is dissolved in a bucket of warm water and this mixture is infused for several hours. Then the mixture is thoroughly mixed and the plant is treated, you also need to process the pot itself and lightly sprinkle the earth. It is important to ensure that this solution does not get on the roots of the plant, otherwise it will die. Pedilanthus is left in a treated state for 3-4 hours, and then it is necessary to wash off the soap solution from the treated surfaces. Next, the plant is wrapped in a plastic bag and left for about a day, so that there is increased humidity inside the bag.

The stems and leaves are wiped with alcohol solutions, and the container in which the plant and the top layer of the soil are located is also processed. If folk remedies did not help, then it is necessary to resort to treatment with modern insecticides.

Of the problems associated with caring for pedilanthus, the following can be distinguished:

  • decay of the root system occurs with frequent flooding of the plant;
  • ugly stretching of the stem indicates too high a temperature during the period of winter dormancy and insufficient illumination of the plant with sunlight;
  • pedilanthus does not want to bloom - the conditions of winter dormancy are violated (most likely an elevated temperature);
  • yellowing and drying of the tips of the leaf plates indicates excessive sunlight exposure;
  • sheet plates became monotonous green and crushed in size - insufficient lighting;
  • the leaf plates began to turn excessively green, and the petiole does not grow - there are too many nitrogenous compounds in the fertilizers;
  • rapid fall of the leaf mass - a sharp drop in temperature, while the stems remain green, then one can hope for a new growth of shoots, if, after all, the plant has been frozen, then it is necessary to cut off the parts of the pedilanthus that have died out and wait for the new growth of the stems;
  • darkening and rotting of the top of the cutting, indicates a fungal infection (it is necessary to cut off all cuttings that look like this);
  • the growth of leaf plates stopped and they began to deform - the pedilanthus is affected by aphids (put the plant under a shower, wash off harmful insects with water and treat with insecticides).

If the petiole began to lengthen, then this does not mean anything, since it is a natural process during the growth of pedilanthus.

Types of pedilanthus

Large-fruited pedilanthus blooms
Large-fruited pedilanthus blooms
  • Pedilanthus tithymaloides. This type is the most favorite and popular among flower growers. The native habitat is humid and warm tropical American and Caribbean woodlands. Its stem is rather branched, large and as if polished. The leaf plates are elongated and large in size, reaching 10 cm in length and 5 cm in width, thick, fleshy, rather smooth. The color of the leaves is very diverse and can take on a pinkish tint, rich emerald with whitish blotches or pale green with a white (or slightly beige) edging. The color of the leaf blades varies only under the influence of growing conditions. As soon as the pedilanthus has new colored young leaves, the stem begins to change its direction of growth, which is why it bears such an unsightly name "devil's ridge", but it is more euphoniously called "Jacob's Ladder". This species is particularly unpretentious to lighting conditions, the only requirement is that it grows normally on windows facing north, it will need artificial supplementary lighting in winter. The decorativeness of this plant is very high due to the unusual shape of the flowers, which vaguely resemble either the head of a bird or a woman's shoe. The color of the flowers is bright pink. It has not only poisonous, but also healing properties and is used for medicinal purposes. The plant becomes less decorative if its height becomes more than 80 cm, so it is better to arrange a planned spring pruning.
  • Large-fruited pedilanthus (Pedilanthus macrocarpus). It mainly grows in the desert regions of Mexico and America. It is believed that this plant completely lacks leaf plates, but they simply have lost their functionality so much that they have shrunk to the state of small scales that are pressed against the shoots. The stem is quite branched, takes bush forms and is painted in gray-green shades. Some of the stems can change their shape - instead of being cylindrical, they become flattened, they also significantly thicken and elongate. It stores moisture in its shoots during periods of drought. In natural growing conditions, it can reach up to 1.8 m in height. Flowers are cyatia (glass or bunch) - this type of inflorescence is inherent in the entire milkweed family. It is a leafless pistillate flower and staminate flowers, which are collected in groups of 5 units. Cyatius has leaves-bedspreads, which are combined in 5 pieces, shaded with red tones and have nectar glands available and look like one whole.
  • Finca pedilanthus (Pedilanthus finkii). For growth, this species chooses trees with sufficiently high trunks so that they form a kind of tent with their crowns. Growing areas - tropical wet forests, with light and loose soils. The stems are in the shape of zigzags, the leaf plates of a brilliant deep green color are located at the tops of the shoots and look very peculiar.
  • Pedilanthus coalcomanensis (Pedilanthus coalcomanensis). It was first discovered in the 30s of the last century in the mountainous territories of the Mexican west. The habitat is rare tropical forest regions, in which the seasons of dryness and rains are clearly distinguished. The shape has a bush or in the form of compact trees, the inflorescences are distinguished by special beauty and colors, in which there are peach-pink shades. Drops the leaves during the dormant period.
  • Pedilanthus calcaratus. This species has a tree-like shape and is the most common of its kind. In natural conditions, it grows up to 3 m in height and has a luxurious evergreen crown. If the growing conditions are not favorable, then part of the deciduous mass will be discarded.

Learn more about pedilanthus care from this video:

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