This plant has many names. I can be known commonly by Gopher plant, Milkweed, Gopher Spurge, Spurge, or Upright Myrtle Spurge. Incase that isn’t thorough enough, it has two scientific names as well: Euphorbia Rigida and Euphorbia Biglandulosa.
I recently had a client order 100 Euphorbia Rigida plant from me. I had to do some solid searching to be able to find them in Southern California. The color and growth habit of these intrigued me so I decided to do a bit more research on them. After learning that they self seed freely, are very drought tolerant, flower profusely, deter rodents, handle almost any soil, attract bees, and are being researched as a form of biofuel, I was floored that they aren’t being used more.
Xeriscaping and drought tolerant plants are being more popular for varying reasons. This plant fits in a category that few other plants do, the “What can I plant that I don’t have to water and keeps the weeds away and looks nice?” category. I have come to the conclusion that people only don’t have it because they don’t know about it.
This plant has a fast growth rate. The follower plant was grown from a cutting in just 2 years. It fits perfectly in USDA zones 7-10 and has no problems with the wild fluctuations that the High Desert typically deals with.
If you’re looking for a drought tolerant plant that thrives in the High Desert and fits perfectly into your xeriscaping project, look no further.
I decided to work on a few Portulacaria Afra trees. Practicing wiring on these trees is great due to the spacing between leaves and branches. This first little guy didn’t need too much wire to set the structure.
When it is repotted it will get a slight angle change.
Keeping the lower right branch to help thicken the trunk as a sacrifice branch
The next P. Afra that I worked on was the behemoth that I got for $5. I decided to be indecisive. The design I have in mind has me cutting off several larger branches, so I wired it to open up the possibility of growth, while not shutting off the idea of keeping the branches or cutting them off.
The pad formation from bird’s eye view.
Another shot from above. I was able to wire two branches with the same wire which allows for the tree to have a total amount of less wire on the branch for better aethstetics.
Everything from above.
The end product. I have an idea of what I want to do, but we’ll see as we go forward.
I want to cut in 4 places and end up with two large informal uprights, a good cutting from the back, and a cascading branch that can be worked for a few more years.
I wanted to give an update on the Port that I bought and show the development of the leaves as it roots and recovers from repotting. To see what it used to be head here
I decided to start with this photo to show you that it is never time to panic when a port has shriveled leaves. This is how they are able to withstand a lack of water.
Cutting that can be watered. This was after a week of being in sun from sunrise to about noon, then in shade the rest of the day. Average temperatures were about 85 degrees F for the week. The old leaves will shrivel and not look normal until the cutting produces enough roots to be able to uptake enough water to support all of the leaves.
Another bowl of successful cuttings that are ready for water.
You see that the old leaves here aren’t as shriveled. This is due to the entire being shaded by the higher shelf. This is a way to increase success with your Port cuttings.
The feeling of panic is common as is the impulse to water the cuttings when the leaves shrivel up. Avoiding that and being patient will provide you with new growth, and then a solid cutting that roots.