Euphorbia lomelii is an excellent addition to any indoor or outdoor garden. With its small red flowers shaped like hummingbirds and green stems, it will win your heart
They love infrequent watering and full sun. Here’s how to care for them!
The Slipper Plant
Table of Contents
Euphorbia lomelii, Formally known as Pedilanthus macrocarpus, is a slow-growing succulent originating from the Sonoran desert in Mexico.
It has succulent leaves on three to six feet tall green stems emerging from a woody root crown in the ground, bending outwards. The plant spreads slowly outwards through an underground rhizome.
Each stem is coated with a waxy substance called candelilla, meaning little candle. They are also topped with red slipper-shaped flowers resembling a candle’s flame.
How to Water Your Drought-Tolerant Slipper Plant
Drought-tolerant plants like euphorbia lomelii can go long periods without any watering. In fact, they are better off for it.
During the growing season, especially particularly hot summers, you can water them after every two weeks. Observe your plants carefully. If the soil has not entirely dried, don’t water it.
You are better off missing a watering session instead of watering the slipper plant one too many times. As the growing season ends, gradually decrease watering your slipper plant.
do not water your plant during the winter unless you notice the green stems begin to bend or wilt. That’s a definite sign that the plant needs water, and you can go ahead.
Don’t worry. Hardy, drought-tolerant plants can withstand much more than a little wilting.
Direct Sunlight Requirements
At home, slipper plants grow well in sunny spots in the simmering hot desert plains. You will do them justice by placing them in full sunlight.
Although they can bear some shade, they are better off staying under the full sun. Placing them near a south-facing window would achieve that.
These windows get the most sun and are the hottest. If you do not have one in your home, then reflected light from another window with a very light shade might work.
You may notice your slipper plant needs more watering when they get full sun. If you plant them outdoors, ensure they are directly under the sun with no shade.
Outside you don’t have to rely on windows and can plant them anywhere. If you don’t have a patch of earth in a sunny spot, you can plant them in containers where they get full sun.
Well-Draining Soil for Desert Plants
Pedilanthus macrocarpus, re-named Euphorbia lomelii, prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil like many similar desert plants. It will not grow well in poor-quality soil.
You can fill your containers with ordinary desert soil if you live close to one. Alternatively, you can mix sand with compost or buy a cactus potting mix from the store.
To make your soil acidic, you can amend it with compost seasonally. As the organic content in compost breaks down, it releases humic acids into the soil.
How Pot Size influences Well Drained Soil
You must consider pot size to ensure that your plant gets well-draining soil. If you use a large pot that is too big for the root system, the roots will not use up the retained moisture in time
The roots with hall more moisture than they know what to do with and ultimately succumb to root rot. Alternatively, your Lady’s slipper plants will soon become root bound if the pot is too small.
To avoid root rot or other drainage issues, carefully select the containers and ensure they come with drain holes.
Slipper Plant Temperature Requirements
The slipper plant expects warm climates. They are heat-tolerant. They only need a little more water as the temperature increases.
Mature plants can tolerate cooler temperatures, but you must avoid freezes. Younger plants are hardy in temperatures as low as thirty degrees.
Slipper Plant Humidity Requirements
Coming from the desert plains, the slipper plant doesn’t need a high-humidity environment. It will be fine at room temperature with relatively dry air.
Slipper Plant Flowers
The Pedilanthus macrocarpus, Euphorbia lomelii, or Lady’s slipper is adorned with flowers from late spring until the mid-summer.
The Slipper plant gets its nickname from the red slipper-shaped flowers which top its stems. Some say the flowers resemble little hummingbirds more, which is apt as the blooms attract hummingbirds to your garden.
Slipper plants produce cyathium inflorescence. What looks like a single flower is a single female and multiple male flowers in specialized bracts.
This type of inflorescence is designed to be pollinated via birds, in this case, particularly the costa’s hummingbird.
Slipper Plant Fertilizer Requirements
Euphorbia lomelii, or the slipper plant, is hardy. They can grow well without much extra assistance. However, if you want taller stems and more flowers, fertilizers can help.
You can use half-strength specialized liquid cactus fertilizer for your slipper plant. Fertilize your plant with extra diluted fertilizer along with every other watering.
Do not fertilize when the plant is not actively growing, meaning the winter. Start in the early spring before the flowers bloom and decrease gradually from mid-summer onwards.
A little will go a long way. Do not over-fertilize your desert plants. Since they aren’t watered as often, salt could build up in the soil and damage its root system.
Slipper Plant Propagation
You can propagate the slipper plant through stem cuttings or root division. It’s better to propagate a new plant since their growth would take forever from seeds.
Using a sharp pair of gardening shears, cut the stems. Ensure the cuttings are several inches long with plenty of healthy foliage.
Place the cutting in low light so the injury dries up, and then plant it in its new pot. The plant will begin to develop new stems as the root system develops.
Through this process, you can divide your current plant into smaller plants with foliage and roots. You must dig up your slipper plant and divide it at the rhizome.
Ensure each division has enough roots and leaves to sustain its new growth. Plant each segment in an individual pot. Watching the plant’s growth is a reward in itself.
Slipper Plant Toxicity
Slipper plant stems contain a toxic milky sap. The sap can give you an upset stomach if you accidentally consume it.
It will also irritate the skin upon contact. Keep this plant away from pets and small children. Either place it in a room where they can’t get to it
Train your pets and educate your children about them being dangerous.
We’ve equipped you with all the knowledge to ace slipper plant care. Good luck gardening!