The Medusa’s Head euphorbia belongs to the euphorbia genus. It is also known as euphorbia caput Medusae, or euphorbia Flanaganii is native to South Africa and is one of the most remarkable plants you will ever see due to its tuberous body.
Other plants typically have thin leaves, but the Medusa head features broad snake-like greenish and grey-colored branches extending from it instead of typical leaves.
Even though the Medusa head is relatively easy to care for, some Medusa head owners may find it challenging to care for it properly. Here are some Medusa head plant care tips to help you efficiently care for and grow this plant’s root system.
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The family of Medusa Head Plants contains more than three hundred varieties of plants, including the Medusa Head. The Medusa head is one of the earliest plants documented by Linnaeus, Euphorbia caput-medusae. It was brought to the Netherlands between the 1700s.
The plant’s name, Medusa head, refers to how the crowns of its white and yellow flowers mimic those of the mythical figure Medusa. The blooms usually blossom in the early summer or late spring months and have a yellow or white hue.
This genus is primarily coastal, and it may be found from the Cape Peninsula in the southern region to South Africa’s west coastlines. It flourishes in rock formations or deep soft sand along the shores of Cape Town.
Medusa’s Head Euphorbia Plant Care
Here are some factors Medusa’s head plant owners must consider and take care of to ensure their Medusa head thrives.
Even though the euphorbia flanaganii is a succulent, unlike other succulents, it is not drought tolerant and cannot survive too long without proper irrigation. Therefore, one must water their Medusa head at least once a week or more if the weather is scorching.
The best way to ensure you are not overwatering or underwatering is to check the soil of the Medusa head before watering. If the soil is dry, it means that the plant requires irrigation. If the soil is still wet from the last watering, it is better to wait for the soil to completely dry to avoid issues like root rot, which commonly occurs in Medusa heads due to overwatering.
Try to replicate the watering conditions according to the weather conditions; for example, if the weather is cold, try to water less, preferably every ten days. If the weather is hot, weekly watering is advisable.
One way to know that your Medusa head is not getting enough water is to notice the branches; if the branches are curling inwards, that indicates that the plant needs more water. However, if your plant is turning transparent or soft, you should reduce how often you water it and wait until the soil is completely dry before watering it again.
Since Medusa heads are prevalent in sub-tropical climates, the plant thrives in regions where the coldest temperature can drop to 25 to 50 ° F. If you reside somewhere with extreme heat, try to offer sufficient shade to prevent the Medusa head plant from burning.
The medusa plant may be grown in a conservatory or greenhouse, similar to other succulents. It makes a great indoor plant since it thrives in an indoor environment.
If you keep your Medusa head outside, bringing it inside during the winter months might help prevent winter damage to the plant.
A medusa head plant prefers a combination of partial shade and direct sunlight. Experts recommend medusa head owners offer their plant at least six hours of direct sunlight. However, if the afternoon sun is too hot during the summer months, it is best to avoid direct sunlight for more than a few hours, and offering indirect light is the way to go.
Since medusa head makes an exceptional container plant when keeping it indoors, finding a spot near a window with the direct or partial sun during the day is recommended. Having blinds or light curtains on the window is a great way to protect the Medusa head from the full sun in the summer afternoons and provide the afternoon shade.
If you live somewhere with an abundance of winter months, it is better to plant medusa’s head indoors and offer it the warmth and light it requires through artificial lighting like plant grow lights which are readily available in shops. You can also make your plant grow lights with the help of some DIY tutorials online.
A Medusa head enjoys humid environments and will thrive in areas with greater humidity levels. A euphorbia flanaganii medusa’s head can survive average room humidity if kept inside. You can take a few steps to ensure your medusa head receives adequate humidity, one of which is frequently misting the plant in dry weather.
Pests and Diseases
Since it is easy to keep succulents safe from pests and diseases, medusa’s head is usually safe from these issues. However, sometimes mealybugs may attack medusa plants.
Mealybugs are relatively common and prefer congregating inaccessible areas, such as within the crevices of medusa plants’ soft green arms.
Additionally, overwatering is a significant contributor to bacterial or fungal infections. So, ensure you’re watering just enough to prevent these problems and avoid root rot.
If your euphorbia flanaganii gets infested with mealybugs or other diseases, it is best to treat them by spraying pesticides. However, since pesticides contain harsh chemicals that may further damage the plant, it would be best to make a homemade pesticide. Here is how you can make a homemade pesticide for your plants:
What you will need
Dishwash or mild liquid soap
Take a spray bottle and add one tablespoon of mild liquid soap or dishwash
Mix in a cup of vegetable oil of your choice
Add a cup of water to the mix and shake well before use
You can effectively eliminate pests like mealybugs by spraying this mixture on your plants.
The ideal soil for Medusa’s Head drains well. When picking a soil mix for your Medusa plant, try going for a well-draining soil mix made for cacti.
Not having the appropriate well-drained soil mix for a medusa plant is a common mistake that new medusa plant owners may make, eventually leading to roots. The ideal pH range for the plant is between 6.1 and 7.8.
Since medusa’s head euphorbia is a slow grower, it will not require repotting for long periods. However, when you do repot, there are several things you need to consider to ensure the plant does not deteriorate after repotting.
The first thing to consider is to pick a pot with good drainage to ensure your plant can dispose of excess water through the drainage holes. The next thing to consider is to invest in an appropriate and fresh potting mix for medusa head plants. A well-drained potting mix can help you ensure a successful repotting job.
A Medusas plant doesn’t require additional nutrition since it only needs well-drained soil to flourish. However, you may fertilize once per month in the summer and spring months using a liquid fertilizer with a half-strength dose. According to experts, fertilizers should only be used when the Medusa’s lower leaves begin to exhibit signs of nutritional insufficiency.
Add fertilizer to the mix whenever the plant’s lower leaves get a yellowish hue. Fertilization is not recommended in winter since the plant is dormant during these months.
It is easy to propagate Medusa head plants, and even beginners can do a good job following a few basic guidelines. There are two methods for propagating a medusa head plant: through seeds and stem cuttings from a mother plant. Here is how you can propagate a medusa head plant both ways.
Propagation Through Seeds
Purchase a small pot with drainage holes to prevent root rot due to overwatering and place medusa seeds within the pot (The ideal month to sow the medusa seeds is autumn)
Add around two inches of potting mix over the seeds and keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout
Following that, take the usual steps for caring for the plant, such as providing adequate water and keeping the pot in appropriate temperatures
Propagation Through Stem Cuttings
Use sterilized shears to get cuttings from a mother plant (Make sure to wear gloves when working with stem cuttings to protect your hands from coming in contact with the milky sap)
Dry the cuttings for around two to three days
Next, plant the dried cuttings in a small to a medium-sized pot
Make sure to mist the pot regularly to keep the soil moist
Cover the pot with a bag to preserve moisture, however, make sure to remove the bag for at least two hours per day to avoid mold formation due to excessive moisture
Now that you know all the temperature, water, humidity, soil, and fertilizer requirements to care for and grow a medusa’s head plant, all that is left to do is bring a medusa plant home. You can use the propagation methods mentioned above if you want to grow a medusa plant from scratch.