Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai is a succulent shrub having stems of varied colors ranging from gray to terracotta. Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai comes from the Euphorbiaceae Family and the Euphorbia Genus. The scientific name of the Euphorbia balsamifera is Euphorbia balsamifera Aiton.
Commonly known as Balsam Spurge and Sweet Tabaiba, it is an intricately branched rounded shrub. The height of a Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai varies from a very short bush to a small tree up to 5 m tall. It is a natural bonsai as it forms a thick succulent trunk.
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai has semi- succulent stems without spines. They have a diameter of approximately 1 cm and are covered in elongated leaf scars. The tips of the stems have clustered leaves. The shape of the leaves also vary from ovate to linear-lanceolate. They are sessile, which means that they are directly attached to the base without a stalk. The color of the leaves range from green to glaucous. They are approximately 80 mm long and 4 – 8 mm wide.
The Euphorbia balsamifera also has various economical uses. The latex of the Euphorbia balsamifera bonsai that is poisonous like other Euphorbia is used for medicinal purposes. It is used in odontology as a treatment or anesthesia for acute dental pulpitis. The latex is used in various dental clinics as an effective devitalizer. The latex of the Euphorbia balsamifera bonsai also has other uses like it is sometimes used to drink like the milk of other animals. The habitants of the Canary island are also reported to boil and thicken the latex into a jelly and eat it as a delicacy.
The plant also has large green capsules like fruit. It turns pinkish reddish green on ripening. It is semi sessile and looks smooth or hairy.
Two subspecies of the Euphorbia balsamifera include the E. balsamifera ssp. Balsamifera and the E. balsamifera ssp. Adenensis.
- E. balsamifera ssp. Balsamifera is a native plant found in Canary island, Mauritania, West Africa, Senegal. It can grow up to 5 m tall.
- E. balsamifera ssp. Adenensis is a more compact species of the Euphorbia balsamifera. It grows up to 1 m tall. It has obovate leaves that are up to 2.5 cm long in length. The origin of this plant can be traced to the Arabian peninsula, North Somalia.
Moving ahead, we will now cover various important topics about the Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai including how to grow it, methods for its care and prevention from pests, diseases etc.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai?
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai is an easy to grow plant and does not have high requirements. You just need to ensure that the environment is apt for your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai and it will grow well. If you want a healthy plant, just ensure that the watering and light requirements of your plant are met. If grown from a seed, the germination for Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai takes place within around one to three weeks. Some of the important requirements for growing a Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai are listed below:
Position and Sunlight
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai requires partial to full sunlight to grow well. For your bonsai to be healthy, it requires at least 3 – 5 hours of proper sunlight every day. However, if the sun is too bright and hot, then you can keep your pot in light shade and expose them to indirect sunlight. You should also remember to rotate your plant regularly to make sure that it doesn’t become lopsided.
In regions with cold winters, you should keep the pot indoors as exposure to cold can let the plant develop frost.
The plant grows well in temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 degrees Celsius. The ideal temperature ranges from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature should not fall below 10 degrees celsius as the Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai trees are not very resilient to cold.
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai requires moderate watering to grow well and become healthy. You should water your plant regularly during summers and the growing seasons but make sure that the water does not stand around the roots. Let the soil dry out between two watering sessions.
Also remember that overwatering can make your plant rot or even kill the plant so ensure that you water your bonsai at the right intervals. The plant does not require much water during winters so it is advisable to keep it dry when the temperatures fall below 4 degrees celsius.
To grow well, Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai requires well drained and gritty soil. You can use cactus potting mix to plant your bonsai. These bonsai are not good at tolerating wet soil so ensure that the soil you use is well drained. You can mix together 2 parts of sand, one part of peat and one part of leaf mulch to make soil for potting your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai.
You should use liquid fertilizers to fertilize your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai tree once every two weeks during spring and summers. As spring and summers are the growing season for the bonsai, they require more fertilizers during this period. Fertilizing is not required during Fall and Winter seasons.
Image Title: “Fruits of Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai” – Image Source
How to Plant and Grow Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai?
Coming to the main topic of how to plant and grow a healthy Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai, given below are the important steps. Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai can be grown through propagation from cuttings or even seeds. The process of propagation is explained below:
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai can be propagated through cutting. You need to take a cutting in Spring and let it dry before potting it. It should be left to dry for at least a week so that the wound heals and it grows well. If the cutting is not allowed to dry it might rot before it can grow roots. You should also wash the cut and remove the latex and then leave it to dry.
To propagate Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai from seeds, you can sow them just under the surface in the normal seedling trays in a proper seed mix. Germination of Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai through seeds usually occurs within one to three weeks.
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai do not require pruning as they are low maintenance plants. They can retain their shape and do not need to be pruned at regular intervals.
While repotting is not a required step for Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai, you can do so if you desire. While repotting your bonsai, you should prune the roots and place the plant in a pot that is suitable depending on the size of your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai. You can also modify the soil mixture and then place your bonsai in its new pot.
How to Care for Your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai?
The ideal growth environment for the Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai is hot temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant might rot in colder environment and temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit is not ideal for Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai. In winters, you must ensure that the plant is kept indoors so that the leaves do not have frost on them.
For a healthy plant to grow, watering and light requirements must be met. You must make sure that you water your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai only when required and not until the soil is dry again. Overwatering is harmful for the bonsai as it can cause the plant to rot or even cause the development of fungus on the plant. So ensure only the required levels of water reach your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai.
The soil requirements of the Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai are not too high. It only requires a soil that well drained and is porous enough to easily drain the excess water from it.
Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai also requires a good amount of sunlight but not too much direct sunlight on the hottest days of the summer. So you must make sure that your plant is placed at a well lit place receiving the right amount of sunlight. Also, do not move your plant much. While planting and repotting your Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai, be careful of the latex or the milky sap of the plant as it is poisonous.
Diseases and Pests
Mealybugs can attack the Euphorbia balsamifera Bonsai trees. Spider mites or scale insects can also attack these bonsai. You must ensure that you use proper preventive measures to avoid such attacks to your dear bonsai. You should treat your plant against pest attacks at least 3 – 4 times from the fall to the beginning of the Spring season. If spider mites attack your plant, you can spray calcium free water on the leaves and get rid of them.
Further, excess watering can also cause fungal attacks on the plant. So make sure that watering is within the required levels and the soil is not wet or water is not standing near the roots.