Botanical Name — Euphorbia decepta
Common Name — Sputnik
Plant Family — Euphorbiaceae
A South African native, Euphorbia decepta is a dwarf, spineless succulent made up of oblong branches growing from a central caudex. Covering these limbs and looking like spines are actually dried and dead peduncles, flower and fruit stems. A deciduous leaf-grower, any leaves that form are short lived and fall from the plant naturally. As the top of the plant grows, the caudex beneath it becomes a hardened brown stalk. Exposing this plant to plenty of high light will give it a deep, black-green color that is prized by growers.
- Euphorbia decepta does best in full sun, at least 5 to 8 hours a day. Avoid intense afternoon sun. Grow outdoors in light shade or indoors in a sunny window with southern exposure and direct sun.
- Euphorbia decepta prefers warm temperatures in the 70s and 80s. It can become stressed if left in conditions of extreme temperatures or intense sun.
- These plants are not cold hardy, if grown outdoors migrate these plants to a sunny spot indoors when night time temperatures drop below 55 ºF.
- Native to arid and sub-tropical climates Euphorbia decepta are drought tolerant plants. Water sparingly in the summer and only a few times throughout the winter. Their soil should be allowed to dry out entirely before watering thoroughly.
- These plants prefer a sandy, sharply draining mix. Cacti or succulent potting mix is great. You can amend a regular potting soil with sand or pumice up to 50% to improve grittiness and drainage.
- These plants produce small yellow-green flowers during the spring and summer time. Potted plants and plants grown indoors may not flower.
- These plants do not require fertilizer though it can be added to give container grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer monthly, diluted at half strength.
- Euphorbia decepta can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take great care when cutting these plants as they contain a sap that can be highly irritant if contacted with skin.
- Allow cuttings to callous for several days before dusting with rooting hormone and placing in soil.
- Euphorbia decepta are not prone to pests. Though not super common, they are more likely to fall victim to bacterial or fungal infections. Affected plants may need to be destroyed to prevent the spread of disease to other nearby plants.
- Root rot can also be a concern and is triggered by overwatering. Always err on the side of underwatering.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Little maintenance is required to grow these plants.
- The deep, bulbous roots of this plant often require a deep pot, but once planted, they will be happy in the same pot for several years. Repot once every two to three years.
- All Euphorbia plants contain a poisonous sap that is very toxic if ingested and highly irritant if contacted with skin. Keep out of reach of pets and children. Wear gloves and take great care when handling this plant.