Monday, October 10, 2011

Cow's Horn

This is an incredible Euphorb!!!  It's strange and exotic looking.  However, I placed this particular plant in a pot to protect from cold spells. I'm not crazy about the name, but Cow's Horn is really something special to add to our courtyard collection of plants that take the "front and center" and add focus and structure to our seating arrangements.
 This hot summer was a challenge for plants in the courtyard.  I am for native plants that are drought tolerant in Tucson.  As much as I enjoy establishing a new garden each spring, I dread the beginning of the summer months because it takes a year to two years to really keep those plants happy before leaving many of them on their own.  My side garden(the fern garden) required very little effort on my part to maintain and I will continue with that effort throughout the property.  Euphorbs and similiar plants are wonderful for that xeric idea.  However, Tucson can get cold in the winter so here are some tips for this particular plant...the Cow's Horn.  Protect from intense afternoon sun as it will burn, but also protect from our extreme freezes during winter.  I've seen this plant in the landscape but it did receive some damage from our historic freeze this past winter....even killing some.  Therefore I placed this beautiful specimen in a pot....for now.
Once established, this plant can take full sun and will survive freezing temps at around 25 degrees F.  If it is in the ground, put a blanket around it to protect from the cold.  It can grow up to 20 feet, but from the ones I have seen here in Tucson, they can get to be around 12-15 feet tall. Be careful handling this plant as it can cause skin use gloves. Like most Euphorbia, the sap can cause a rash.  And watch out for those beautiful thorns!  No matter how hard I try, I always seem to stick myself!  This comment comes from PalmBob in Tarzana, CA. "This makes a great ornamental plant that will branch and flower! It does tend to rot easily if overwatered (which I've done several times!). The spines can be quite hazardous, making moving or trimming this plant a chore so keep that in mind when purchasing the smaller Cow's Horn.  This plant can become enormous, often collapsing under its own weight. However, if kept pruned regularly, this can be avoided. It makes tiny leaves in summer where the new growth forms, but usually devoid of leaves all winter. And it will flower and fruit in late spring. The flowers are really nice and have a brilliant yellow color, but usually on mature plants, and mostly those growing in full sun." More tomorrow.....

1 comment:

  1. That 1st shot is FABULOUS.

    And aren't euphorbs amazing things?

    There's a native species in San Diego that, after I got nailed by it's milky sap and felt the pain and then for 2 years wore the scars from the subsequent blisters, succeeded in behavior modification of a human. I NEVER sat right next to them in the field, anymore. Give them LOTS of room. =)


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