ArtisTree ‘Plantopinions’: Crown of Thorns Opens Up Thorny Debate
Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) is an evergreen sun lover that blooms year ‘round in Southwest Florida’s favorable climate. The vibrant red, pink, salmon, white and yellow colors are a great addition to most landscapes. If you’re looking for a tough shrub you can just pop in the ground, this succulent is a nice albeit controversial choice. The ArtisTree Landscape experts, in Sarasota, FL, weigh in on some thorny issues.
Joe Mantkowski, VP Landscape Design, thumbs up: “I’ll use the dwarf size because it stays small and makes a great border plant. I like to pair it with boulders, either directly behind the boulders or within the gaps. Another big plus is that this succulent blooms year ‘round, so you’ll always have those nice pops of color. It’s a hardy evergreen plant choice that can handle full sun and tolerate our hot Florida temperatures.”
Clinton Lak, Landscape Designer, thumbs up: “The Dwarf Crown of Thorns is one of the few plants that blooms year ‘round and doesn’t require pruning or irrigation. It’s also very salt tolerant. On the flip side, though, it doesn’t tolerate wet feet. It pairs well with coontie, bulbine, desert rose, pygmy date palms, blue agave, aloe, echeveria and virtually any other sun lover that thrives in dry soil.”
Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer, thumbs down: “Not a fan. I only use it if it’s requested by a homeowner. The thorns are a big issue for me, and a lot of my clients have kids or pets that might run into them. As a potted specimen it can be very cool when properly maintained. But too often, I’ve seen it poorly maintained in commercial landscapes. It often ends up looking like a thorn-covered stick with only a couple leaves and flowers on the ends.”
Chris Culp, Landscape Designer, thumbs up: “I like Crown of Thorns, but I like Dwarf Crown of Thorns the best. It’s a two-foot, maximum height plant and is very slow growing. It blooms almost all year around which is hard to find in plants. The thorns are not sharp as people might think. They do not like a lot of water and are not that cold hardy, so that’s something you’ll need to keep in mind.”
Conan Michel, Purchasing Manager, thumbs down: “Sorry, I do not like this plant and don’t recommend it. It has thorns, so it’s difficult to trim. It’s too sensitive to water and will die easily from fungus. It’s also sensitive to cold. These are not the most ideal plants for our area unless you have experience with them and the time to nurture. On a positive note, they have pretty red flowers.”
ArtisTree “Plantopinions” is a roundtable debate between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of various plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge!
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ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897 for your custom proposal.ArtisTree Landscape, Sarasota landscape designers, Crown of Thorns Florida, Sarasota succulents, Sarasota shrubs