How to Care for a Devil’s Backbone Plant “Pedilanthus tithymaloides”

Could you tell me what this plant is and how to care for it?




Your plant is called a Devil’s Backbone (Pedilanthus tithymaloides).

Here are some care tips for a Devil’s Backbone plant.

Light: bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., but no direct sun.  Water: Keep the plant slightly moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top few inches of soil have dried out. During the fall and winter, when the plant is resting, water less. Leaves fall off of a Devil’s Backbone plant if the soil gets too dry and the plant gets root rot if the soil stays too wet. Temperature: Prefers warm temperatures and does not do well in temperatures below 55 °F (12.8° C).   fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: Feed monthly in the spring and summer when the plant is actively producing new leaves with a balanced liquid plant food.  Pot Size: Like to be root-bound in a small pot. Soil: Devil’s Backbone plants are very tolerant of poor soil, but it’s best to use a sand based soil that drains well or a cactus mix. Plant Pests: Look out for Mealy BugsLearn how to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky, white, cottony residue on houseplants. and spider mites. Toxicity: The latex based sap of a Devil’s Backbone plant is caustic so always wear gloves when pruning the plant.