Also known as Euphorbia guentheri, Monadenium guentheri is a perennial succulent. Known commonly as Sausage Spurge, a mature Monadenium guentheri plants look like a tangle of sausages or snakes.
And, when grown as a houseplant, in the right kind of container, Monadenium guentheri can make a wonderful Medusa Head.
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About Monadenium guentheri
Native to southeast Kenya, Monadenium guentheri or Sausage Spurge is a unique-looking succulent that is commonly found in open grass scrublands. The succulent belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae.
These stout plants have long, thick cylindrical, unbranched stems that grow to around 2 inches in height and the diameter of the stem is around 1 to 1.5 inches. The stems have hexagonal or rhomboidal tessellations. Each tessellation has spines of 1 to 2 mm.
The succulent has sickle-shaped fleshy deciduous leaves, which are around 4 inches long. It has a thick and fleshy root. Monadenium guentheri are drought-tolerant plants having a very high heat tolerance and require very little water.
In summer and spring, the Monadenium guentheri grows beautiful small cyathia flowers, i.e. flowers with a red gland, which is enclosed in two greenish-white-colored bracts that are fused and have a striking mottled pattern.
And, if cross-pollinated properly, they will go on to produce seed pods. These plants grow fairly quickly and do not need any maintenance, making them an excellent choice for beginner succulent gardeners.
And, in this Monadenium guentheri care and propagation guide, we will discuss all there is to know about the growth of the Sausage Spurge and its care.
How to Care for Monadenium guentheri
In its native habitat, the Monadenium guentheri grows in a desert-like environment. But when the succulent is grown indoors as a houseplant, it needs full sun and bright light.
The best thing is to place the plants in a semi-shaded area because too much exposure to the rays of the sun can cause the stems and leaves to develop a reddish coloring.
If the succulent has been growing in the shade, then move the plant slowly into the sun to prevent it from getting sunburned.
The Monadenium guentheri succulent cannot withstand high humidity and so you must maintain the plant in low humidity conditions.
Since the Monadenium guentheri grows naturally in arid conditions and is drought-tolerant, the plant does not need a lot of water. The plant, however, needs more water during its growing season, preferably once per week.
Water the Monadenium guentheri only when the soil is dry. During the winter months i.e., from October to March, the plant goes dormant and it is best to stop watering it completely during this period.
The succulent does not do well when it is wet for prolonged periods and if overwatered, it can rot.
The Monadenium guentheri grows well in well-draining sandy soil that contains pumice, perlite, peat or river sand. You can also use a succulent soil mix that is quick draining.
If you’re growing the succulent in a pot, then ensure that the growing medium is airy, and contains non-organic materials like lava grit, peat, clay or pumice.
The aerial part of the Monadenium guentheri grows rather slowly, but the plant produces very large rhizomatous roots. And so, it is a good idea to repot the succulents every 2 to 3 years to ensure that they developed in a balanced manner.
It is good to apply a diluted liquid fertilizer to the Monadenium guentheri once every 2 weeks during its growing period i.e., during summer and spring. Don’t fertilize the plant during winter and fall.
In the United States, the Monadenium guentheri is mainly found growing in the USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 10b. Typically, Monadenium guentheri succulents grow best in temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (16°C-29°C).
The succulent doesn’t like the cold because of its African origin and cannot tolerate freezing weather conditions. And so in winter, you should keep the plant indoors or in a heated greenhouse to protect it from the cold.
The Monadenium guentheri succulents are quite resilient to pests and diseases. But over-watering, especially in winter can cause the plant to rot. If the light is very low, then you may have a problem with scale insects and mealybugs attacking the plant.
Propagating Monadenium guentheri
The propagation of Monadenium guentheri is easiest and fastest from cuttings. When grown in the nursery, you must ensure to maintain conditions as close to natural as possible. Let the cutting callus and then pot it in porous soil or succulent potting mix.
You can also collect the seeds of the Monadenium guentheri resulting from the cross-pollination of the plants and sow them, but growing plants from seeds is quite difficult.
Monadenium guentheri has a moderate growth rate and in around 3 to 5 years, they will become quite large.