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Pedilanthus tithymaloides smallii ‘Variegatus’ (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)
Pedilanthus tithymaloides smallii ‘Variegatus’ (photo courtesy of Rob Cardillo)

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Zone
Zones H2
Partial Sun
Partial
Minimal Water
Minimal
Toxicity
Milky sap can cause stomach upset

Pedilanthus tithymaloides smallii ‘Variegatus’

Devil’s Backbone, Jacob’s Ladder
Euphorbiaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

PEDILANTHUS

All of these odd-looking plants have decorative stems, but those of P. macrocarpus are bare most of the year. Inconspicuous red flowers are concealed in tubular or slipper-shaped red bracts. Some botanists consider Pedilanthus to be a part of the genus Euphorbia.

Pedilanthus tithymaloides smallii ‘Variegatus’

This Caribbean native grows to 1–2 ft. tall, with somewhat fleshy, zigzagging stems and 2–3-in., oval mid-green leaves. Has grayish stems and leaves marked with white and pink; it is fairly common as a houseplant. Under good growing conditions, it may produce 1/2-in. bracts in summer. Partial shade. Give houseplants bright indirect light; fertilize every couple of months during warm months, and keep soil barely moist.

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