The original Euphorbia of this species was from Madagascar and called Euphorbia milii. Euphorbia somona was developed from this and bred for the European market which meant it was important that it was a compact plant. These were also very popular in tropical Thailand and Taiwan, where they were called Poysean (or Eight Saints) named after the eight saints of Chinese mythology: health, bravery, riches, beauty, art, intelligence, poetry and the ability to overcome evil. Growing one of these outside the home was considered to bring these positive attributes to those within it.
The new lipstick is a larger variety with bigger leaves and flowers and can grow up to a metre. Euphorbias are succulents and have quite sharp thorns, although the thorns on lipstick are softer. An attractive plant ideally suited to a patio or protected area, lipstick will flower freely in late Winter, Spring and Summer with best results in well drained soil, and a drier environment in Winter. Prune lightly in Summer months if required. This plant has a very low water requirement once established and it pays to be careful not to over-water them.
Available at Oderings www.oderings.co.nz