The Q&A Archives: Crown of Thorns Care

Question: I recently purchased a potted plant called "Crown of Thorns". However, a month after bringing it home, it's looking yellow, and losing its leaves. I try to keep it uniformly moist, but not too wet, in front of a window that faces northeast. Would a different exposure help, or should I just feed it? If so, what type of plant food should I use? I bought the plant for its propensity to bloom indoors, but the ones that were on it when I bought it have long fallen off, and there won't be any more until I figure out why it's ailing. Help!

Answer: Your Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) should be an easy plant to care for indoors. It likes a south facing window with lots of light, and prefers temperatures about 70F degrees. If you feed your plant, it may become leggy, but you can give it diluted (half-strength) liquid fertilizer during the summer months if it doesn't seem to be thriving. I'd move it to a brighter location and see if that doesn't help perk it up. You'll probably need to water less during the winter months, so don't let the soil completely dry out, but wait until the top half-inch is dry before supplying water to your plant. Expect that the plant will rest a bit this winter, but should begin growing again in early spring when the days get longer.

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