Euphorbia Species, Devil's Backbone, Slipper Spurge, Redbird Cactus

Euphorbia tithymaloides

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: tithymaloides (tith-ee-mal-OY-deez) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia carinata
Synonym:Pedilanthus tithymaloides
Synonym:Tithymalus tithymaloides
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Elberta, Alabama

Rowland Heights, California

Alamosa, Colorado

Austin, Colorado

Brooksville, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Deland, Florida

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jupiter, Florida

Lake Panasoffkee, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Rotonda West, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Albany, Georgia

Broussard, Louisiana

Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Andrews, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 6, 2015, Abe1234 from Chattanooga, TN wrote:

This is one fantastic plant. It's limbs are so pliable you can tie them in knots without breaking them. They root easily in a pot of soil. Let cut end dry a day or two before planting. This will keep it from rotting.
I noted that this plant grows in our area (37421). Not outside. Sorry about that. Ours stays inside during the winter. Gave my daughter three cuttings in a pot last year and it is almost as big as mine. The branches can be bent to any angle but she prefers hers to grow straight up.


On Jun 19, 2012, GrannyGardner from austin, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

Moved out doors in May in Colorado. All the leaves fell of leaving me 3 sticks. Put in a corner and forgot it for about a month. Came back and it was covered with leaves!! ALL 3 STICKS! Plan to bring in in the winter. Love how this cactus looks.