Monadenium rubellum or Euphorbia neorubella is a plant belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family. Native to Kenya, this plant has one or more tubers at the base that are thick and store the water for the plant. This is called the root foot of the plant.
The stems of this plant grow from this tuber in a winding snake-like shape, often containing purple stripes. The leaves are green and red with flowers being pinkish in color.
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How to Care for Monadenium rubellum
These plants need full sun, which means they need to get direct sunlight for at least six hours on a daily basis. They might need protection from the afternoon sun depending on how strong the sun in your region is.
You can identify this by looking for burns or yellow coloring when exposed to too much sun. But typically, they grow well when planted outdoors in a sunny spot.
If you plan to grow this plant indoors, you must place it near a window that gets lots of sunlight. People who take this route like to pick south-facing windows for this reason. That way the plant will get sunlight all day long. Alternatively, invest in a good grow light for succulents that can replace natural sunlight.
These plants grow actively from spring to the fall season and that is when it should get the right amount of water. The right amount in this case is just making sure that the top two inches of soil are never dry.
So, if you spot them in that condition you should water the plant. That usually happens once a week because these plants are pretty great about tolerating drought. That is because these plants are native to regions that are described as semi-arid and rocky.
Sometimes the soil dries up to the point that it starts to feel crispy. Ideally, you should not let it get there. Your worst-case scenario should still get the plant watered once every month.
The best time to water these plants is in the morning so that they have enough ammo to deal with the sun during the day. But in the winter season, you must change tactics and water the plant only when it looks like it is starting to wilt.
The Monadenium rubellum 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 rubellum 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.
Depending on the species, you will need to follow separate feeding techniques. But generally speaking, a little bit of fertilizing is good for these plants. You can add a little bit of organic fertilizer or compost to a young plant so that it grows healthily.
But you want to make sure that the fertilizer you are using is in liquid form and diluted a little to weaken it. You must also make sure that the fertilizer must be added to the plant in its growth period between spring and fall. In the winter, the plant is dormant and does not need to be fed as much.
Check out our article on the best fertilizer for succulents to help you choose the right one.
If your Monadenium rubellum is in a container, you will have to feed it some more fertilizer compared to the ones that are being grown out in the ground. And if you notice yellow leaves developing at the bottom, that’s a sign that you need to feed the plant some fertilizer.
In the United States, the Monadenium rubellum is mainly found growing in the USDA Hardiness Zones 8b to 10b. Typically, Monadenium rubellum 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 rubellum 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 rubellum
The propagation of Monadenium rubellum 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 rubellum resulting from the cross-pollination of the plants and sow them, but growing plants from seeds is quite difficult.
Monadenium rubellum has a moderate growth rate and in around 3 to 5 years, they will become quite large.