Cactus and Succulents forum: ID and Care help

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North of Phoenix, AZ
Jul 10, 2018 6:54 PM CST
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Hello! I'm new to the forum community. Smiling
I'm originally from New England where we don't grow cacti (obviously lol) but now I'm in AZ and a friend asked me to care for her plants while she's traveling, and she has two of these plants potted and one in her yard. She's trying them out for the first time and told me to water them a little every other day... which I've been doing. They started out in the middle of the patio in full constant sun. I'm wondering if someone could identify them for me and give me some more insight into their proper care. They were pretty tall and straight at first but have since lost all perkiness, it doesn't help they've been wind whipped. Sad I'd love to revive them a little or start over if need be.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Jul 10, 2018 6:58 PM CST


The plant is Euphorbia tirucalli but I will let others with more relevant experience address the care issue.

Milk Bush (Euphorbia tirucalli)
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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Jul 10, 2018 7:09 PM CST
They look like Euphorbia tirucalli aka pencil tree or milk tree.

When given space and planted in the ground these will grow to be tree sized. They do not like below freezing temperatures, which this time of year is of course not a problem.

I have mine in the ground and water it maybe once a week in the summer, but it is a well established plant that gets a good amount of shade. To me it almost feels like you are over watering them, especially the potted ones, but that all depends on how much you water them when you do. In pots these probably should only be watered when the soil is dry. It has been hot enough that depending on the soil and type of pot, you might have achieved dryness between waterings but if I had to bet on it, I'd say probably not.

Did the floppiness happen in the last few days or has it been going on for a while? We have had a significant humidity change in the last few days and that for some reason or other tends to make some plants floppy. However if it has been going on for a while you have to worry that all that watering has maybe affected the roots in a negative way. To figure that out you'd have to get the plant out of its pot and have look at the roots.

Not sure where in AZ you are, but the low desert areas have been getting a good amount of moisture these last few days, so one thing to do is see how the plants respond to that, if they perk up, there is probably nothing wrong with the roots, then contrary to my estimation they were probably thirsty. If they do not perk up, then you have to worry that watering them every other day may have been too much.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jul 10, 2018 7:11 PM CST
If you've had the same weather as others in this Forum who live in Arizona, I can understand why they look a little wind whipped. We need to hear from a couple other members who live in your area.

Oh good, one just showed up...
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

(Zone 9b)
Cactus and Succulents
Jul 10, 2018 7:37 PM CST
Hi. I live in Lake Havasu, which is slightly hotter than Mesa. I water once a week. Mine are potted and under cover in the shade, but get a lot of wind. They are standing up straight, but are much smaller than yours. It looks like the big one was leaning against the pot on the patio, so maybe it just needs to find its own strength now, out in the middle of open yard? I'll echo what mcvansoest said, that they don't like the cold (I brought mine inside when I lived in a colder climate two winters ago, otherwise they got dried up tips and white scars), and shouldn't need water as often as you're giving it.

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