Euphorbia loricata: A Succulent with Armor Like You’ve Never Seen

Imagine a plant that looks like it’s straight out of a medieval fantasy, covered in wicked spines and ridges that give it an otherworldly, armored appearance. That’s the Euphorbia loricata, a succulent unlike any other you’ve encountered before. Keep reading to discover the mesmerizing secrets of this living sculpture from South Africa.

euphorbia loricata

About Euphorbia loricata

Native to the semi-arid, rocky regions of South Africa, Euphorbia loricata is a shrubby succulent that can grow up to 3 feet (around 1 meter) tall. Its long, fleshy stems and branches are covered in ridges and what appear to be sharp spines, but are actually cyathiums – small, cup-shaped structures that house the plant’s tiny flowers.

These “spines” give Euphorbia loricata an almost extraterrestrial look, like something out of a sci-fi movie. But don’t let the prickly exterior fool you – this succulent is a true marvel of nature, with a unique beauty that will captivate anyone who lays eyes on it.

Despite its fierce appearance, Euphorbia loricata is relatively easy to care for, as long as you understand its needs. Let’s dive into the essential care tips for this remarkable plant.

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Euphorbia loricata Care Guide

Light Requirements

Euphorbia loricata thrives in full sun, which means it needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. In regions with intense afternoon sun, it may need some protection during those hours to prevent sunburn or yellowing of the stems.

If you plan to grow this succulent indoors, place it near a south-facing window that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Alternatively, you can invest in a good grow light designed for succulents, which will provide the bright, consistent light this plant craves.

Watering Needs

During its active growing season from spring to fall, water Euphorbia loricata when the top 2 inches (around 5 cm) of soil are dry. This typically means watering once a week, as the plant is drought-tolerant and native to arid conditions.

In the winter months, when the plant is dormant, reduce watering and only provide moisture when the plant starts to look wrinkled or wilted. Morning is the ideal time to water, allowing the plant to absorb moisture before the heat of the day.

euphorbia loricata

Soil and Potting Mix

Like most succulents, Euphorbia loricata prefers well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A good succulent soil mix or a blend of potting soil, sand, and perlite (in a 50-50 ratio) will do the trick. The key is ensuring that the soil doesn’t stay soggy for too long.


Euphorbia loricata benefits from occasional fertilizing during its growing season. Use a liquid succulent fertilizer diluted to half-strength, or add a small amount of organic compost or slow-release fertilizer to the soil. If you notice yellowing of the lower leaves, it’s a sign that the plant needs a nutrient boost.

Temperature and Humidity

Euphorbia loricata does best in warm, moderately humid conditions. During the day, aim for temperatures between 70-80°F (21-27°C), and at night, a range of 55-65°F (13-18°C) is ideal.

As for humidity, this succulent prefers around 50% relative humidity year-round. It can tolerate drier indoor conditions, but higher humidity will help it thrive. If the air is too dry, consider using a pebble tray or humidifier to increase moisture levels around the plant.

Pests and Problems

Like many succulents, Euphorbia loricata can fall victim to spider mites and mealybugs. Keep an eye out for these pests and treat any infestations promptly with an appropriate insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

euphorbia loricata


Pruning is generally not necessary for Euphorbia loricata, as it naturally maintains its shrubby, upright shape. However, you can remove any damaged or discolored stems as needed using clean, sharp pruners.

Potting and Repotting

Euphorbia loricata does best when slightly pot-bound, so only repot every 2-3 years when the plant has outgrown its current container. Use a well-draining succulent mix and a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.

Euphorbia loricata Propagation Methods

Stem Cuttings:

  1. Use a clean, sharp knife or pruners to take 4-6 inch (10-15 cm) cuttings from a mature plant, cutting just below a leaf node.
  2. Allow the cuttings to callus over for a few days before planting in well-draining soil.
  3. Water sparingly until roots form, then care for the new plants as you would an established Euphorbia loricata.


  1. Sow seeds in a well-draining seed-starting mix or a blend of potting soil and coarse sand.
  2. Keep the soil lightly moist and provide warmth (around 70-80°F or 21-27°C) for best germination.
  3. Be patient, as seeds can take 2-6 months to sprout.

With its otherworldly appearance and easy care requirements, Euphorbia loricata is a must-have for any succulent lover or gardener seeking something truly unique. Bring home this living sculpture today and let its armored splendor captivate you!