Pedilanthus, the “devil's spine” that will surprise you with its beauty

Pedilanthus, the “devil's spine” that will surprise you with its beauty

The plant kingdom has millions of species that never cease to surprise us with their ability to adapt to the environment and with their beauty. That's what happens with him pedilanthus. This time we are going to talk to you about pedilanthus tithymaloides, which is also known as the devil's spine.

An evergreen succulent that closely resembles a shrub. If you want to add it to your collection, pay attention to everything that is important to know about it.

Origin and habitat of pedilanthus

Origin and habitat of pedilanthus

We incardinated this succulent within the family Euphorbiaceae. It is native to Central America and the Caribbean, where it grows in dry forests, savannas and rocky areas.

Its nickname, the devil's spine, comes from its characteristic shape. With erect stems that remind us to some extent of the shape of the spine.

But don't let this nickname scare you, because underneath it is a beautiful plant that doesn't require much attention.

Physical characteristics that identify pedilanthus

Physical characteristics that identify pedilanthus

Here are some of the main features that will help you identify that you are in the presence of a pedilanthus and not another succulent:


It is a plant of moderate size, with specimens rarely exceeding 90 centimeters in height, although it all depends on the conditions to which it is exposed.

Its bearing is upright and columnar, which gives it that distinctive appearance from which its nickname is derived.


The stems of this plant are fleshy and cylindrical, as is usual in succulents of the Euphorbiaceae family. Their color can vary from dark green to a more yellowish green, and it is normal for them to acquire a woody tone as the pedilanthus ages.

The stems grow vertically from the base, forming a dense, branched structure reminiscent of a spine.


The leaves are variegated and tend to curve as they age, acquiring a shape similar to a spoon. They are small and lanceolate in shape, arranged along the spiral stems.

The usual thing is that they are a green color that can be more or less intense., but there are also some varieties with variegated leaves that combine green with a white tone.


In Euphorbia tithymaloides the flowers are usually bright red or orange, which makes them stand out despite their small size.

The flowers appear at the tips of the stems throughout the warmer months of the year, and It is normal for them to be grouped in terminal inflorescences.

What care does pedilanthus need?

What care does pedilanthus need?

Succulents are not demanding in terms of care, but that does not mean that we can forget about them. Actually yes We don't pay the slightest attention to them, They may soon begin to show signs of wilting.

To make your pedilanthus as beautiful and healthy as it should be, apply the following care tips:


In a climate like Europe, this variety does best as a houseplant. If you plant it outside, make sure it is in a sheltered place, because later we will see that it does not tolerate the cold very well.

Look for a location for your pedilanthus where it receives several hours of light a day, but always indirect light. As with other succulents, If you expose the plant to direct sun for a long time, the leaves may burn.


Originally from warm regions, this succulent has proven to have a good adaptation to different climates. However, it still prefers warm temperatures between 18º and 27º C. If you are able to provide it with a warm environment, You will notice that it grows quickly and becomes bushier.

Although you can keep it outside, remember to protect it during the winter. Place the pot in a place where it does not receive drafts or is directly exposed to frost, because excess cold could quickly destroy it.

Watering the pedilanthus

Watering succulents is one of the most delicate aspects of their care. The secret is to provide the right amount of water, without exceeding it. To do this, water only when you see that the top layer of the substrate is completely dry, which, in practice, It is equivalent to watering once a week, or even every two weeks.

During the winter the plant goes into a state of dormancy and is not growing, so its need for nutrients is less. This means you can space out watering even more.


Use a well-drained and light substrate that allows good aeration and the expulsion of excess water from irrigation. You can add a little sand or perlite to a universal substrate, or opt for a special substrate for cacti and succulents, sold in all types of gardening establishments.

Also, make sure the pot It has a drainage hole through which the excess water after irrigation can drain. And remember to remove the plate so that it does not accumulate there and be absorbed by the plant again.


Do not overdo it with fertilizer so as not to damage the roots of the plant. You can use homemade or commercial fertilizers, but always in moderation.

All you have to do is add a little fertilizer to the irrigation water every four to six weeks between the spring and summer months.


This is not a tall growing plant, so it does not need regular pruning. What you can do is cut the stems to control their shape.


If you want to have more pedilanthus specimens at home, you can reproduce the plant through a cutting. Cut a healthy looking stem, theRemove some of the lower leaves, let the wound heal for a couple of days, and then you can plant the cutting directly.

In a few weeks you will notice that It has grabbed hold of the earth because it is developing its own roots. TO As it gains strength and size, consider planting it in a larger pot.


In a couple of years the roots can completely fill a pot, and that is when it is recommended to transplant. To improve the result, use a pot just a few centimeters larger than the current one, and use fresh substrate.

That's how easy it is to have a beautiful and well-cared for pedilanthus. Can you tell us your experience with this variety?

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