Crown of Thorns, also known as Christ thorn or the Christ plant, is an ideal succulent to add to your plant collection since it is a great decoration for Easter and Christmas. You can easily create a beautiful view by arranging small pots of the Christ plant cuttings on tabletops, at place settings, or across mantels. You can even give a young crown of thorn plant as a gift to your friends and relatives. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to propagate crown of thorns plants to help you achieve all the above.
So, how do you propagate the crown of thorns plant? The simple answer is through cuttings and seeds. The most common propagation method is through cuttings, but you can still collect seeds of the plant after the flowering season and sow them. If you want to propagate through cuttings, ensure you water your plant at least one day before taking the cuttings. This will ensure the cuttings have enough water stored, which is crucial for rooting. For seeds, make sure you sow them at the surface of the well-draining potting mix and cover the container with plastic. The seeds germinate within two or three weeks.
This blog post discusses everything you need to know about propagating crown of thorns plant. Read on to learn more on how you can expand your crown of thorns plant collection.
When Is the Best Time to Propagate Crown of Thorns Plant?
Crown of thorns plant cuttings and even seeds require relatively warm conditions and bright indirect light to root or germinate. Therefore, an ideal time to carry out propagation is during spring or early summer.
Avoid taking cuttings in fall or winter because the cuttings won’t have enough time to root and develop new growth before extreme cold sets in and disrupts everything. Propagating crown of thorns plant in fall or winter will most likely produce unhealthy and short-lived plants.
Propagating Crown of Thorns through Cuttings
The most common method of propagating a crown of thorns plant is through cuttings. The process is relatively easy to accomplish, but you must be careful because this succulent has plenty of sharp spines and a slightly toxic sap.
Once you have taken the cuttings, let the sap dry completely before placing them in a growing medium. It can take up to 24 hours for the sap to dry out completely.
Follow the steps outlined below to propagate a crown of thorns plant through cuttings:
1. Taking the Cuttings
To take cuttings from a mature crown of thorns plant, you will need a sharp razor blade, knife, or bypass pruner. Carefully lift one side of your plant and lop off short pieces of growth.
Ensure the cut pieces are relatively short. They should be anywhere between three to six inches long with only the tail end leaves in place.
Consider taking your cuttings when the newest growth is still available, preferably in spring or early summer. Be sure to take more cuttings than what you need in case some of them fail to root.
Before taking cuttings, ensure you prepare for the plant’s resistance. Between its sharp spines and toxic sap, the plant will try to put up a fight when it senses that it is in danger.
However, preparation minimizes the risk of injury to the plant and yourself. Wear gloves to protect your fingers from the sharp spines and sap. You should also clean the knife or razor blade you intend to use with alcohol to sterilize it.
If the sap comes in contact with your skin, wash it off with warm, soapy water as soon as possible. To harden the sap and prevent it from running, place the cuttings in cold water and also spray down the plant from which they were taken with water.
2. Preparing the Growing Medium
A good medium for growing shrubs such as the crown of thorns plant must consist of equal parts of peat moss and either perlite or sand. You can also use equal parts of bark and peat moss to prepare your potting mix.
Ensure the soil is well-draining. Like other succulents, the crown of thorns plant doesn’t like being waterlogged. A growing medium with poor drainage may lead to severe rot, preventing the cuttings from rooting.
You also need to ensure that the growing tray or pot has plenty of drainage holes at the bottom. This is to allow excess water to drain away as soon as possible. Whatever medium you choose to use in your propagation, ensure it is moist but not wet.
3. Rooting and Transplanting the Cuttings
Once the sap on the cuttings has dried, and the growing medium is ready, take the cuttings and plant them in the soil. Only a small part of the cutting should go into the soil (approximately one inch).
The cuttings will start to sprout into new plants in three to six weeks. This is the perfect time to transplant them if that was your aim.
If the cuttings are relatively small, consider transplanting them into a soil-less potting mix. However, feel free to use regular succulent soil if they are reasonably big.
4. Rooting in Water
Besides growing medium, you can also root your crown of thorns plant cuttings in water. Simply take the dry cuttings and place them in a relatively tall, narrow glass with approximately one inch of water in the bottom.
Keep the cutting in bright but indirect sunlight, and the roots will start to form in one or two weeks. Once the roots form, carefully transfer the cuttings into a special soil mixture specially designed for succulent plants.
5. Taking Care of the Cuttings
The truth is that crown of thorns cuttings require little attention once they have been potted. All you have to do is set the potted cutting in a warm and dry spot where temperatures stay above 70oF. Do everything possible to protect your cutting from direct sunlight.
Consider using a propagation mat to warm your growing container or pot if your home is in a relatively cold place.
Drizzle water around the base of the cuttings whenever the potting mix feels completely dry in the top inch but be careful not to waterlog the soil.
As long as you do everything right, you should start seeing new growth sprout on the cuttings within one or two weeks.
Essential Tips for Taking Crown of Thorns Cuttings
Follow the simple tips outlined below if you want to increase your chances of successfully propagating the crown of thorns plant from cuttings:
- Always use a sharp and clean cutting tool that has been sterilized using alcohol or a solution of nine parts water and one part bleach.
- Take cuttings early in the morning.
- Take cuttings from new growth.
- Take cuttings from a healthy, disease-free crown of thorns plant.
- Always cut on the diagonal.
- To encourage rooting, dip the cut end of the cutting in root-forming hormone powder before planting.
- Take more cuttings than you need because some may fail to root. If all of them root, you can always give the new plants away as gifts.
Propagation through Seed Germination
Another way to propagate the crown of thorns plant is through seed germination. You can pollinate flowers yourself to form seeds or purchase them from your local plant store. To pollinate the crown of thorns flowers, carefully transfer pollen from one flower to another using a fine paintbrush.
If done correctly, the plant flowers will turn into a capsule. Wait until the capsule ripens, remove it from the plant, and split it over a paper sheet to collect the seeds.
Don’t store the seeds for a prolonged time because they may fail to germinate. In fact, you should consider sowing the seeds immediately after collection.
Sprinkle the seeds on a well-draining potting mix, cover them with a light layer of sand and keep everything moist. To help with germination, cover up the growing tray or pot with plastic and place it in a greenhouse where it can access bright but indirect sunlight.
If you don’t have a greenhouse and can’t find a good spot in your house, feel free to use artificial grow lights. Maintain the temperature at around 65oF and 75oF.
The seeds will typically germinate within one to three weeks. You should only remove the cover when the seeds have fully germinated. Be sure to maintain a moist surface even after you remove the cover.
Give the seedlings one or two weeks before you start transplanting them outdoors. The extra time allows the young seedlings to develop a more robust root system and leaves that will play a critical role in their survival once they are transplanted.
Crown of thorns is one of the most beautiful succulents that are easy to care for and propagate. Learning how to propagate crown of thorns provides you with an opportunity to start multiplying your plant collection.
We hope you have learned valuable tips to kickstart your crown of thorns propagation journey. We wish you all the best in your propagation journey.