The Devils Backbone Plant: An Underappreciated Gem For Your Garden

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 5, 2022
  • Time to read: 8 min.
Devils Backbone Plant
Photo by the courtesy of arayabandit

While flowers and shrubs may be the first plants that come to mind, why not explore the underappreciated Devils Backbone Plant, Euphorbia tithymaloides? This unique, spiky-leafed succulent can be a showstopper in any garden, providing a vibrant splash of color with its yellow-green foliage and eye-catching blooms. In this article, we’ll explore more about the Devils Backbone Plant and its many uses for it in your outdoor space.

What is the Devil’s Backbone Plant?

The Devil’s Backbone Plant, or Euphorbia tithymaloides, is an eye-catching and unique succulent that can add a statement to any garden. It is a shrub-like succulent with a unique appearance that earned it the nickname devil’s backbone due to its spindle-shaped top and bottom. The structure of the plant gives it an interesting and aesthetically pleasing look that can be used to fill in areas of a garden or simply to stand out on its own.


The Devils Backbone Plant, is a stunning and underappreciated gem for any garden. With its eye-catching purplish-green foliage, it quickly grabs the attention of all who pass by. Although the leaves are small and short-lived, they are thick and waxy and form a neat, formal look. The mature shrub can also reach up to 10 feet in height, adding a height and texture to your garden that is unmatched by other plants.

The most remarkable feature of this plant, however, is its blooms. The flowers are a deep yellow-green and have a unique bud-like shape that makes them look almost like miniature cacti. The blooms attract pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, and the abundant nectar-filled buds are a source of food for birds and other wildlife.

The Devils Backbone Plant is a hardy plant, and once established, it requires very little maintenance. It thrives in full sun and can handle a range of soils, from sandy to clay. In addition, it is moderately drought tolerant and can handle light frosts. All in all, it is an excellent choice for adding interest and texture to any garden.

Cultivation and Care

The Devils Backbone Plant, is an underappreciated gem for any garden. Whether in your front yard, backyard, or even indoors, this gorgeous succulent is sure to bring life to any space. But to get the best results for your Devils Backbone Plant and ensure its continued beauty, there are a some things to keep in mind when it comes to cultivating and caring for it.

The first thing to keep in mind is that Euphorbia tithymaloides can be grown from seed or from cuttings. If using seed, it should be sown directly into the soil at a depth of about ½ inch. Germination typically occurs within 2-4 weeks. When planting cuttings, ensure that the new plant is well rooted before planting it. Both methods will produce a beautiful Devils Backbone Plant!

Light Requirements

The Devils Backbone plant loves light, but not too much. It prefers bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause its leaves to burn, so it’s important to find a spot for it that receives light but is also sheltered from the direct rays of the sun. On the other hand, little amounts of light can cause the leaves to become limp and discolored.

The best way to ensure that your Devils Backbone plant is getting the right amount of light is to place it in a place that is south or east-facing. This will provide the brightest light possible without the worry of too much direct sunlight. Additionally, you can use a sheer curtain to filter the light and prevent any leaf burning.

Soil Requirements

When considering the soil requirements for the Devils Backbone Plant you’ll find that it needs a lightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.0 in order to thrive. It also needs a soil that is well-draining and able to retain water, so mixing in some perlite to your planting area is often a good idea.

The plant is fairly tolerant of different soil types, but it’s best to avoid heavy, clay-rich soils if possible. Other than that, you may want to add some slow-release fertilizer, or even a layer of compost, to give the Devils Backbone Plant the nutrients it needs to flourish.

Finally, Devils Backbone Plants are drought-tolerant and they can survive extended periods without water, but it’s best to provide regular watering during the growing season. Make sure to thoroughly soak the soil around the plant but avoid overwatering or standing water. It’s also important to note that the plant will tolerate periods of wetness but it will not do well in a damp environment.

Water Requirements

During prolonged dry conditions, the plant may need to be watered every two to three weeks. But, be warned, this hardy succulent can get root rot if overwatered.

The best way to determine when to water is to feel the soil. During the heat of summer, the soil may need to be watered weekly. But, during cooler months, you can wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering it again. When it comes to watering your Devils Backbone Plant, make sure it’s getting enough upon planting and for the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s best to back off and water only when needed.

It’s also important to note that watering your Devils Backbone Plant too much can result in drooping leaves and wilting. If you notice these signs, you should immediately reduce the amount of water. If the soil is soggy and waterlogged, the plant may need to be moved to a well-draining container and the soil amended with sand or perlite to improve drainage.


This unusual succulent is native to Central America and the Caribbean and makes a great addition to any garden. It’s drought-tolerant and loves the sun, requiring only limited amounts of water, which makes it an ideal plant for dry climates. To propagate the Devil’s Backbone Plant, you will need some patience and a bit of know-how.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to propagate the Devil’s Backbone Plant is by stem cuttings. Start by taking a cutting of several inches of stem that includes both new and old growth. Remove any flowers or leaves and then dip the end of the stem in some hormones to encourage rooting. Then, prepare a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix, and insert the stem into the soil. Firmly press down the soil around the stem and water it in. Place in a bright area with indirect sunlight. You should begin to see roots in a few weeks. Once the roots have established, you can transplant your new Devil’s Backbone Plant into its permanent home.



The Devils Backbone Plant makes for a great addition to rock gardens or dry gardens, as it thrives in dry, sandy soil. It can even be grown indoors in a container, making it a great choice for those who want to brighten up a room. It requires very little care, and once established, it can be left to its own devices.

This plant also makes a great choice for those looking to attract wildlife to their garden, as it is an excellent source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. When in bloom, it will also add a unique and exotic look to your garden.

The Devils Backbone Plant can also be used as a medicinal herb. It has been used for centuries to treat a range of ailments, from coughs and colds to rheumatism and skin irritations. It has also been used to make a tea to aid digestion and treat headaches.

No matter what you are looking for in a garden plant, the Devils Backbone Plant is an excellent choice. It is easy to care for, it will add beauty and interest to your garden, and it is a great source of nectar for wildlife. Plus, it can even be used as a medicinal herb, making it a great choice for those looking to add something a little different to their garden.

Ornamental Uses

If you’re looking for an easy to grow, yet eye-catching, groundcover for your garden, the Devils Backbone Plant, Euphorbia tithymaloides, should be at the top of your list. This succulent, sometimes called the Red Bird Cactus, brings an interesting texture and color to your landscape. Its unique shape—looking as if it’s made up of tiny, cacti-like paddles—will stand out amongst other ground cover plants. The green and purple colors of the foliage will add a touch of drama to your design.

The Devils Backbone Plant is perfect for hot, dry climates and can tolerate drought—though it will appreciate occasional watering if you live in a more humid area. Keep in mind that the foliage can be damaged by frost, so it’s best planted in coastal gardens or in those protected from icy temperatures.

The Devils Backbone Plant is also great for when you’re looking for something to add height to an area without taking up too much space—it can reach heights of up to 2 feet, though it will usually stay shorter. It will spread outwards as it grows, so it’s a great choice for filling in a large area quickly.

Medicinal Uses

The Devils Backbone is much more than just a pretty flower – it has medicinal uses, too! This succulent has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments from digestive problems to skin conditions. There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to suggest that this plant really does have healing properties, so let’s take a look at some of the ways in which it can be used.

One of the most common uses of the Devil’s Backbone is to help ease digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion and diarrhoea. The plant contains an ingredient called ‘tithymalic acid’ which has been said to help reduce the symptoms of these issues. To get the most out of this treatment, make a tea by boiling the plant in water and drinking it regularly.

The Devils Backbone has also been used to treat a number of skin conditions. It’s believed that its anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce itching, swelling and redness associated with eczema and psoriasis. 

Finally, the Devils Backbone can also be used to help relieve headaches and muscle pain. Make a tea with the plant as before and drink it regularly for best results. It is also believed to help improve circulation and reduce inflammation.


The Devil’s Backbone Plant is truly an underappreciated gem for those of us who love to garden. It has a unique and interesting shape that can provide interest and texture to the garden or landscape. Its bright colors are eye-catching and can be used to draw attention to a particular area. It is easy to care for and maintain, requiring only regular watering and light pruning. Plus, it has a variety of uses, including ornamental, medicinal, and even pest control. All these qualities make it an excellent plant choice for both experienced and novice gardeners. Despite its many benefits and uses, the Devil’s Backbone Plant is often overlooked, making it an ideal pick for those who want something a bit out of the ordinary. So why not give this plant a chance, and add a unique gem to your garden!


Latest Articles :

Tips For Growing Beautiful Althea Plants

How To Cultivate The Amazing Gold Dust Plant

A Comprehensive Guide To The Different Types Of Tomato Plants

Althea Plant

Previous Post

Tips For Growing Beautiful Althea Plants

Next Post

Exotic Blooms: The Incredible Hindu Rope Plant

Hindu rope plant Hoya Carnosa