Pedilanthus Dwarf Plant with Khajoor Planter


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Pedilanthus tithymaloides is commonly called devil’s backbone in reference to the zigzag stems that purportedly resemble a spinal column. Native from southern Florida and the Caribbean to Venezuela, this clump-forming succulent shrub or subshrub will grow in nature to 6’ tall and to 3’ wide. Indoors, it more typically grows to 2’ tall. Ovate to elliptic, medium green leaves (to 3” long). Showy, two-lipped, red bracts encase insignificant tiny scarlet flowers in late spring or early summer. Flowers are clustered at the branch ends. Fruits are small capsules. Plants rarely bloom indoors, however. Zigzag stems exude a poisonous milky sap when cut.

Scientific name: Pedilanthus tithymaloids

Plant benefits

  • Small succulent subshrub for sunny indoor areas
  • Pedilanthus tithymaloides grew for the purpose of ornamental hedges.
  • It is one of the low-cost ornamental plants
  • Tea has been brewed from Devil’s backbone leaves to cure Asthma, persistent coughing, laryngitis, mouth ulcers & venereal diseases.

Plant care

  • Give the Pedilanthus enough water, but also make sure that the soil can dry up between the watering sessions. Too much water will cause root rot.
  • The Pedilanthus does not need much extra nutrition to get. The first year after repotting there is no need to give any extra food at all. The following year it is wise to give some extra nutrition in the spring and summer months.
  • Repot only when necessary. Repot always in the spring, so that the plant still has enough time to recover from any damage
  • Cool or hot temperatures can damage the plant.
  • Direct sunlight can damage the plant
  • In summer the plant should be kept slightly moist. If the soil is too moist, there is a high risk of mould and root rot.
  • You only need to fertilise twice between March and October.
  • The leaves of Pedilanthus have a short life span. The leaves fall off.


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