House Plants/coral cactus

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Question
QUESTION: my plant is getting out of controll. Can i cut overly heavy fingers that are getting to heavy without damage to plant. Its approx. 3 yrs. old and weighs 20 lbs. or about. Thank you for respounding. John

ANSWER: John,

The coral cactus is not actually a cactus. It is a euphorbia that has experienced a mutation that causes it to become crested. The plant is native in Asia and is properly called Euphorbia lactea. The mutation is rare and is a sought-after trait by their Thai growers. The euphorbia is grafted onto a cactus stem to give it a sturdy base and an interesting look. This means it has the root system of a cactus and should be given cactus care which is similar to euphorbia care.

This means you can prune it back but the pieces you prune off will not grow their own roots. They must be grafted onto pieces of cactus to survive. These sites have instructions for grafting: http://www.ehow.com/how_15660_graft-cactus.html
http://albertacactusandsucculent.org/grafting-cacti

You ma not be able to get it right the first time or two but it sounds like you have plenty of pieces of coral cactus to work with. You may also be able to find a book at the library on the subject. Good luck!

Darlene




---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Befor the plant < coral cactus> is grafted what does it look like by it self and why cant it grow as it is. I cannot find a picture of it anywhere. I am so curios i cannot wait to see its orrigonal appearance. Thank You for your help

Answer
John,

It is a euphorbia lactea that for some weird reason becomes deformed and turns into a euphorbia lactea cristata. The euphorbia lactea cristata never survives long on it's own roots so breeders tried grafting it onto other euphorbia roots and it does fine then. You can google euphorbia lactea and click on images to see pictures of that then google euphorbia lactea cristata to see pictures of that. For more detailed information you will need to talk to a grafting expert. I am a Master Gardener, not a grafting expert or a trained horticulturist.

Darlene

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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