Othonna Euphorbioides: Tips For Care And Propagation

Othonna euphorbioides

Last updated on August 4th, 2022 at 08:44 am

Othonna euphorbioides is one of the most popular houseplants around, thanks to its easy care and stunning, spreading appearance. Since they make such amazing houseplants.

You may be wondering what exactly an othonna euphorbioides plant is, and why you should care about it at all. The short answer to that question is because they’re beautiful plants, and they’re perfect additions to any landscape that can take care of themselves quite well.

Origin and distribution

Othonna is native to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. It grows at high altitudes (3,000 – 7,500 feet) in tropical rainforests. Othonna is also commonly known as false button fern and has a similar appearance to Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum). The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is by looking at the fronds themselves; othonna’s fronds are long and segmented while bracken’s are short and clustered together like tufts of hair.

It grows in wet soil and shallow water. Othonna may be propagated from seed or by division. It doesn’t transplant well; it takes up to a year for it to establish itself and become productive. Planting depth should not exceed three inches, since it can easily rot if too deep. The roots should never be allowed to dry out.

Lack of sunlight can cause the leaves to yellow and fall off; the plant will then produce more leaves at the center of the clump than on the outside. To propagate othonna, divide it into sections with about four bulbs each (a third bulb contains one leaf).

Pull apart the individual sections and replant them so that they are less than an inch deep. With proper care, this plant will last for years and years!

Othonna euphorbioides propagation

Othonna euphorbioides

Propagating rare houseplants like Othonna Euphorbioides can be quite the challenge. However, by following these steps, you’ll find that it isn’t as difficult as you might expect and will be rewarded with a thriving plant that’s sure to add to your collection of rare houseplants.

The species can easily be propagated by stem cuttings that are obtained from non-flowering shoots. These will usually root within three to four weeks and once rooted, may be treated as mature plants.

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Both complete and partial defoliation of plants during flowering will promote more prolific flowering but care should be taken not to defoliate in hot weather.

Most of the Othonna euphorbioides grow well on a sunny windowsill and are tolerant of low light levels or darkness. A plant grown indoors may require watering every two or three days if it is kept at a temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

The plant does not need fertilizer but thrives best with some additional water and good drainage. It has no special requirements for soil pH; although, most soils would be satisfactory. Maintain an area where this plant can take up sun exposure or place your pot in an area of bright indirect light year-round.

Othonna euphorbioides care information

Othonna euphorbioides

Othonna euphorbioides is somewhat drought-tolerant and low-maintenance but will benefit from a little supplemental watering in particularly dry conditions. It does best in bright, indirect light and prefers to remain on the dry side between waterings.

The plant should be kept evenly moist, but never soggy or waterlogged (you can soak it overnight to rehydrate). If it’s not getting enough light, it may grow tall and spindly.

Light requirement

In its native habitat, Othonna euphorbioides is a succulent plant that grows in arid areas. Because of their origins, these plants prefer lots of sunlight to thrive.

However, they can adjust to different light conditions and will eventually grow in shadier areas. If your plant is not growing or leafing out, try moving it to a brighter area.

Soil/potting mix

This plant is native to South Africa, where it grows in sand. The soil mix you use should consist of 1 part pine bark, 2 parts coarse sand, and 1 part peat moss. You will also need a container that has holes in the bottom for drainage.

Fill the container with potting mix and make sure there are enough holes in the bottom for drainage. Place the potted Othonna Euphorbioides about two inches below the surface of the potting mix, then fill up any spaces around the rootball with the more potting mix so that no roots are exposed.


These plants like a lot of water. Water them every day and make sure that their soil is always moist. If you live in an area where there are wet winters, grow these in containers so that you can easily move them inside for overwintering.

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During dry spells, keep a close eye on your plants, because they could wilt from dehydration if left outside too long. Othonna euphorbioides also do not do well with constantly fluctuating temperatures, so keep the greenhouse’s environment stable to avoid wilting.


A well-rounded fertilizer that’s rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is an excellent choice for othonna euphorbioides care. Slow-release granules are a great option for feeding your orchid monthly, whereas water-soluble solutions can be used once a week or as needed.

It is important to never fertilize this plant on a dry day, as the damp conditions can cause the fertilizer to burn roots. If you want to create more flowers on your plant, try foliar spraying with magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) and use caution when handling this chemical due to its hazardous fumes.

The soil should also be watered with this solution when fertilizing the plant.


Most orchids thrive in warm environments, but there are a few that do better when kept at lower temperatures. Othonna is one of these and if it gets too hot, it may drop its leaves.

The best temperature for Othonna euphorbioides growing is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit during their active growth period. Once they enter their dormancy period, you can reduce their temperature to 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit until spring.


Due to their tropical roots, it’s essential that othonna euphorbioides plants receive high humidity. Place your plants near a source of constant moisture, such as a heated bathroom or under a humidifier.

Mist lightly but frequently and you should have no problem keeping these plants healthy. Alternately, you can grow them in an outdoor greenhouse, where they can thrive with adequate protection from freezing winter temperatures.

The ideal humidity range is 50-70% relative humidity. High levels of relative humidity will also help prevent foliar molds and some insect infestations. Proper watering practices are critical for the health of these plants, as well.

Keep soil evenly moist throughout the growing season; avoid wetting the leaves when watering because this could lead to leaf spot diseases like anthracnose and mold growth on the leaves themselves.

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Once your plant has reached 6-10 inches in height, you can start pruning your euphorbia. Cut off all dead leaves and stems as well as any flowers that may have popped up.

Pruning your euphorbia will help it maintain a more compact shape and allow new growth to flourish. It will also direct energy towards growing new branches rather than fruit, which is what these plants do when they’re not pruned regularly.

Cut back to 1/3 of their original size to spur new growth.

When to repot

Repotting is not absolutely necessary, as most orchids grow happily in a pot for a year or two. However, if you notice your plant is growing several new stems, then it might be time to give it some more space.

When you repot an orchid, do so during its resting period, from early winter through late spring, when it’s less likely to become stressed by repotting. Take care to select a pot with plenty of drainage holes and a mix of peat moss and perlite that’s designed specifically for orchids.

Make sure the pot has adequate room at the top and bottom for watering, fertilizing, and air circulation; when you’re done filling the container with soil, cover the roots with dirt from the sides of the container before adding more soil around them.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Winter rest is an essential part of Othonna euphorbioides life cycle. As temperatures drop, your plant should be potted up and moved to a cold greenhouse or otherwise sheltered from freezing conditions. Most varieties will go dormant at between 20-30 degrees Farenheit (-7-4 C.).

They can withstand slightly lower temperatures for short periods of time with little harm; however, care must be taken to ensure that they are never exposed to freezing conditions which can lead to a significant loss in older leaves.

In order to wake the plant back up after dormancy, it may need some extra water during the first few weeks. If you do not have a cold greenhouse available and you have a heated basement or cellar available instead, you may be able to keep your plants growing year-round without dormancy

Othonna euphorbioides flower & fragrance

Like many members of its genus, Othonna euphorbioides has flowers that are aromatic, sweetly scented, and even pleasant to chew on. The flowers bloom during warmer months and release their fragrance during evening hours.

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According to the Royal Horticultural Society, gardeners who grow othonna euphorbioides often pick a few blooms daily and place them in small glass jars in sunny rooms, their fragrance is most potent when they’re still fresh.

Growth rate

Othonna euphorbioides

Othonna euphorbioides grow at a very fast rate. It is recommended that one transplant these types of cacti as soon as possible to ensure that they do not outgrow their container and become root-bound.

Othonna species do very well in containers and have an excellent survival rate under these conditions. These plants are also good candidates for pruning and grafting. If allowed to grow too large, they may benefit from being cut back or grafted to a faster-growing variety.


One of the major things to be aware of when growing Othonna is that it’s toxic. While not as poisonous as its close relative Euphorbia haworthii, othonna still contains irritants called furocoumarins, which, when touched by sunlight, can cause severe skin rashes and blistering in certain individuals.

As a result, be sure to keep your plants out of direct sunlight, especially if you have sensitive skin.

USDA hardiness zones

Othonna euphorbioides thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. In the winter, it is important to protect this plant from frost and keep it from drying out. It can be propagated by planting the root cuttings in potting soil and keeping them moist until they start to sprout new leaves.

Pests and diseases

It’s likely that you’ll encounter pests and diseases when growing Othonna euphorbioides. From aphids to fungi, parasites are common garden woes, and it can be particularly frustrating to deal with them in a young succulent.

But fear not! There are many natural methods of dealing with such problems that don’t involve chemicals or pesticides. If a leaf is taken over by insects, simply remove it, being careful not to damage surrounding leaves.