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Beginner Flowers: help with crown of thorns plants.

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coastalzonepush
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

October 30, 2011
5:02 PM

Post #8869640

hello. does anyone have any advice on crown of thorns plants? im basically trying to figure out if i should pot them or plant them in ground. my previous succulent garden turned out to be a failure - a bed of kalanchoe.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

October 30, 2011
6:22 PM

Post #8869736

Do you know why your last succulent bed failed? If it was next to lawn sprinklers and getting water all the time and that's why they died then that won't be the best spot for the crown of thorns either. But if you know what went wrong with the Kalanchoe and it's something that you can change/fix then the crown of thorns would do fine in the ground. But if you doubt your ability to properly care for them in the ground they can be perfectly happy in pots too.
FlowerguyGreg
Fort Lauderdale, FL

October 31, 2011
5:35 AM

Post #8870103

Crown of thorn are virtually unkillable unless you over water them. I say go for it!
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

October 31, 2011
8:27 AM

Post #8870326

I had seen pictures of them years ago but, the first time I ever looked at one close up was in fact in Florida, we visited the (then new Botanical gardens Naples) several years ago now, anyway I loved the bed and one of the gardeners gave me tips on how they grow them. (I cant grow them here UK, they are members of the Euphorbia family, I can grow some of this family as it is huge, but not the succulent or tender ones.
I was told that it would be best to make a bed by digging down 2 spaded deep, loosen the bottom of bed and lay larger stones into the base, cover this with a mix of 2 part potting compost / 2 parts course grit, add a handful multi purpose plant feed for every square yard and rake it in, the bed is best built awards from the ground level on a slope IF you have a problem with too wet soil, plant smallish plants as they don't like a lot of root disturbance, once the plants are in place, top dress the top soil with grit and tuck it under the foliage to prevent water laying on the foliage when it rains or you water, you will have to water but the mix you have made up for the bed and the larger under-layer of stoned will allow for free draining. once the plants get taller, then the water wont be a problem of laying on the foliage.
I am sure IF you phone the botanic garden in Naples Florida they will be happy to help you out, they have some very large specimens on show in beds and borders and considering how recent these gardens have been made, they are a credit to there staff and all the people who help with donations, every time we visit Florida we go for a visit.
You could also Plant new plants in pots and sink the pot / plant into the border till you get the hang of the plants but as far as I was told, with the right conditions they are easy to care for.
I think Ecrane has hit the nail on the head also by telling you to check the soil and growing conditions you had previously to prevent the same thing happening again.
Take care and good luck. Weenel.
coastalzonepush
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 1, 2011
3:17 PM

Post #8872297

thank you all for your time
ecrane3, sorry for not specifying. my kalanchoes were damaged by frost because i didnt have enough sheets to provide layers of protection. they did recover, but it seems that the stems started rotting after the damage. the sprinklers were only on once a week during dry season. thanks for your advice!
flowerguygreg, thanks for the input, i will be sure to pay attention to drainage (part of the reason i thought of pots).
weenel, i appreciate your advice as well. i did research euphorbias but found out quickly that there are so many different types. i am a fan of rocks/stones/pebbles in the garden and i was planning on using pebbles or pond rocks. its nice to know that the botanical gardens' staff gave you all that info on them.
i also read something that contributes to my hesitation on planting the crowns. the source said that if theyre exposed to artificial lights at night, they will cease to flower...is this true?
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 1, 2011
7:30 PM

Post #8872665

Unfortunately frost could get the Crown of Thorns too. They should be hardy in your zone, but if you get some bad frost they can also be damaged. As far as blooming--were you reading about Crown of Thorns, or their relative Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)? Poinsettias can be a bit tricky to get to bloom because they're very sensitive to day length, but I haven't noticed that being an issue with COT when I've grown them, mine have bloomed in the summertime when day length is really long so I don't think that they're sensitive to that.
coastalzonepush
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 2, 2011
1:10 PM

Post #8873478

yeah, i might keep a bucket handy or something to cover them if it gets too cold. - i see, it might have been that! after all i was researching euphorbia care the whole time, because i have a huge plant book that lists by genus. its very nice to know that you are speaking from experience with your plants, i appreciate your knowledge. - my red flowered plant is gark green leaved. but my pink have lighter, yellowing leaves. do yours have yellowish green leaves?
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 2, 2011
6:27 PM

Post #8873866

Mine are dead :( So maybe you shouldn't take my advice! LOL I missed them by accident last year or the year before when I was moving things into the greenhouse for the winter so they didn't make it.

The leaves should be green not yellow--yellowing suggests a problem, could be too much water, needs fertilizer, insect damage, or probably a few other things. If you post some pictures someone may be able to tell you what's going on. Without a picture, overwatering would be my first guess because that's probably the #1 problem with plants in general and even more so when it's a plant that doesn't need a lot of water.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

November 3, 2011
6:05 AM

Post #8874378

I have to admit, I never heard of Crown-of-Thorns being troubled by artificial light and as Ecrane has stated, you were probably reading cultivating info for the Poinsettia that we all fill our homes with at Christmas, I know to get the red Flower (bracts not flowers) from about September / October, the plant you saved from last year needs to be shut away from any form of light for about 18 hours a day to help the plant (poinsettia) colour up, I have only tried this once and it was not easy, in fact the plant looked a bit pathetic and my kids laughed at it come Christmas when I produced it, it looked like is had Chicken Pox with all the little hints of reddish colour and the leaves were spaced so far apart it really was a joke.
The Crown of Thorns I saw were large plants standing upright and had nice big spread in the Naples Botanical gardens, they were set mostly with a largish stone in front and can only assumed this was for both shelter and drainage but they were beautiful plants.
After you talking about them I am going to look out for a plant and see if I can grow one in my conservatory, will have a go anyway, I was fascinated by these plants as for many years I didn't even know they belonged to the Euphorbia family, so thats what gardening is all about eh.
I do grow some succulents outdoors here and as we live in a wet climate I need to give shelter of some kind or another, made different little structures but the best one was made from a metal coat hanger (the kind from dry-cleaners) bend it into a small coil shape at each side leaving enough for legs to go into the soil, into the coil place a small plate of glass, (about picture frame size) and place this above the plant (not touching it) this sheds the rain, leaves etc off the crown of the plant and it has worked good, you slant it to send the water away from the plant not to settle on the roots etc. Charity shops are full of old pic frames that no one wants so are pennies.

My husband has just informed me I did grow a COT ages ago but I honestly cant remember it, old age eh !!!! good luck I say nothing lost nothing gained so go for it.
WeeNel.
coastalzonepush
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 3, 2011
1:42 PM

Post #8874971

ecrane3: aw i wish theyd lived. dont worry, i appreciate your advice either way :) and i blieve my plants' leaves are yellowing because i suddenly put them in an area that only gets morning sun (until i plant it) and also we had a few storms with days of straight rain. i think i just had a panic :p
weenel: yeah i am convinced the plants will be fine. i rode around the neighborhood and someone has a bed ( which i am tempted to copy since i love the look so much) of old crowns. they are completely exposed to streetlights. and they are still healthy and blooming. i hope you do try growing another (?) plant. lol i hope when im older (im unexpectedly young) someone will remind me of the plants i grew :)
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

November 5, 2011
1:46 PM

Post #8877820

HI Costalzone, you stay unexpectedly young and just enjoy dong your garden in whatever style you feel like, In all the many years I have been gardening, and it has reached about 50 years now I have changed my style about a dozen times, I began with annuals for several years but always grew veg as that is what I was taught when I was a child and always loved my hands in soil, any excuse to mix grit, of manure into soil and I was first in the line, don't ask me what it is but, I can go into a little day dream when I hand mix soil. Anyway I moved onto fruit growing and Veg, then this last garden is a total mix, we have taken over an old garden over a hundred years old that was left to go wild, while the property was empty people came a removed plants, stones, rockery's and Victorian roped path edging, but I have spent the last 30 odd years re-discovering the garden by finding old pictures held in our local museum and I found the elderly daughter of the last owners and she gave pictures etc. now I grow fruit, veg, Shrubs of all kinds and my favorite is Perennial borders with all the old fashioned plants that my father/grandfather would grow, so while you go prepare you NEW bed for COT, do remember in a few years time you just might fill more beds with a new fancy, so just make sure you take pictures and you enjoy it, as the old saying goes,"if a first you don't succeed, try, try again" I was told that on many occasions when I was little and said I couldn't do something, no such word as cant I was told ha, ha, ha, my memory is not all bad eh, ha, ha, ha.
Happy gardening and keep up the good work. WeeNel.
coastalzonepush
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 5, 2011
2:00 PM

Post #8877834

:) just thinking of gardens in your part of the world is so enchanting. it is very inspiring to have someone with your great experience hand down advice on gardening. so i thank you for that. and i will defintely try to get as many pictures as i can, and remember to look back at them. i will be finishing up planting for this month soon and the crowns will be in the ground. i appreciate your time WeeNel :)
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

November 5, 2011
2:10 PM

Post #8877853

Coastalzone, your more than welcome, just remember every gardener usually finds there own methods as to what suits them best, taking into account their soil, time, energy, size of plot, and add to that all the tips and help you can get, this will make your gardening feel more like a pleasure and healthy for you, but what could be nicer that to look out at all the things that you managed to grow either from a seed, a cutting, a new plant or tree and then say you cant make a garden, well you can, just don't expect anything to be instant and that includes digging the plot. but most of all, have fun, remember Rome was never made in a day, best wishes and good luck. WeeNel.

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