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Crown of Thorns Flower: Meaning, Usage & Growing Guide

Crown of Thorns sounds like a dangerous plant, but it is a gorgeous succulent that produces colorful flowers indoors, incorporating the colors such as red, orange, pink, and white.

Generally, a Crown of Thorns produces small flowers in clusters of 2-8 at the tips of a green stem about 1 inch long. The flowers develop throughout the year and offer physiological, bacteriostatic, and antioxidant properties. Aim to deadhead the spent flowers to enjoy longer bloom time.

The vibrant blooms of Crown of Thorns offer more than just aesthetic beauty but also boast several uses that we will explore below!

How Often Do Crown of Thorns Bloom?

Although spring and summer is the peak blooming period for the Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii), they can bloom all year.

But in warmer places, they can bloom in winter and spring. Likewise, indoor ones bloom in late winter.

By ensuring optimal light, temperature, and prompt deadheading, you can extend the blooming period of Euphorbia milii.

Generally, Crown of Thorns grown from cuttings take 14-16 weeks to flower.

Meanwhile, it can take more when started from seeds as they take months just to germinate.

Overview of Crown of Thorns Flower

Also known as Christ Thorn or plant, Crown of Thorns is a woody perennial shrub native to Madagascar.

They feature greenish flowers on top 2″ long peduncles and are often coated under showy bracts in red, orange, pink, yellow, or even white.

The individual flowers are about 1/3rd of an inch and will stay with you for 10-15 days.

Meanwhile, thorny stems can measure up to 6 feet in outdoor conditions but only ⅓ of their maximum outdoor size when grown indoors.

Flower TypeUnisexual (plants monoecious)
Flower structureEach cluster is subtended by a pair of conspicuous brilliant red (rarely yellow) petaloid bracts (cyathophylls), broadly ovate beneath or subcircular, 12-15 mm across.
Flower ShapeCyathium (fused bracts that form a cup)
Flower Color Red, orange, pink, yellow, or white
FragranceBitter due to poisonous latex sap
Blooming SeasonAll year round
Fruit Capsule containing 1 seed
Toxicity Toxic to humans and animals

Crown of Thorns Flower: Meaning & Symbolism

In Thailand, people believe the number of flowers on the Crown of Thorns welcomes a lucky charm for the plant keeper.

Similarly, it is said to bring luck when they produce eight flowers in inflorescences in Chinese culture.

On top of that, the spiritual meaning of the Crown of Thorns flower is ‘keep the faith, believe and follow Jesus, and he will give you a new crown of life.’

Crown of Thorns in Pot
The Crown of Thorns flower is a symbol with high Christian cultural significance.

Euphorbia milii received the common name as a Crown of Thorns, referencing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

When Roman soldiers crucified Christ on the Golgotha, Christ was worn with the red bracts of the Crown of Thorns flowers representing his blood.

This all started with the biblical narrative when Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden.

The Crown of Thorns flower represents a painful burden, suffering, guilt, and anxiety.

According to Christianity, the human conscience is full of sins that always prick our guilty souls with sharp Thorns.

That’s how the Crown of Thorns received the badge of sin, and humans earned this for disobeying the eternal living God.

At last, the savior Christ wore our Crown of Thorns to redeem the entire humanity. 

How to Make a Crown of Thorns Flower?

They are sprawling evergreen shrubs with lots of colorful varieties and are easy to grow in warm climates.

And here is what you can do to make a Crown of Thorns flower.

  • Ensure 4-6 hours of bright sunlight in a south window.
  • Water only after the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry. Otherwise, water them once every two weeks in summer.
  • Strictly cut back watering and avoid misting altogether fertilization in winter.
  • Maintain temperatures between 65-90°F and humidity at 60-80%.
  • Give them well-draining, porous, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6.0-8.0.
  • Aim to give them a phosphorous-rich bloom booster or a diluted solution of 10-10-10 fertilizer every month in active growth.
  • Avoid giving them excess nitrous fertilizer as it discourages blooms.

Crown of Thorns Flower: Benefits & Usages

The plant serves an ornamental purpose, adding aesthetic decor in the blooming period despite thorny stems.

They’re highly decorative and can be planted as hedges, border plants, shrubs, potted plants, or statement pieces for your garden.

Besides, flowers of a Crown of Thorns also serve medicinal purposes.

According to a phytochemical screening, the flower of Euphorbia milii has physiological, bacteriostatic, antioxidant, and cardiovascular activities.

Furthermore, the compound present in flowers is beneficial to chemotaxonomic analysis.

They are also effective pharmaceutical compounds as an alternative to chemical-based drugs.

Are Crown of Thorns Flowers Poisonous?

According to the Illinois library, Crown of Thorns contains phorbol esters, which activate protein kinase C. Protein phosphorylation.

Also, the University of California confirms that the milky white sap known as latex is toxic with toxicity levels of 2 and 4.

Consumption of any part of the Crown of Thorns is toxic to humans and pets like cats and dogs.

Upon contact, the sap can cause skin allergies leading to skin blisters and temporary blindness.

All parts of Crown of Thorns, including flowers, contain skin irritant milky sap that is toxic to humans and pets.

Meanwhile, accidental ingestion causes oral irritation, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Not to mention, the thorns can cause mechanical injury.

So, wear gloves while handling the Crown of Thorns and discard them immediately afterward. 

If you find your child has ingested this plant, contact the American Association of Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

For pets, contact ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435

Final Thoughts!

Although Crown of Thorns needs optimal sunlight to maintain vigorous bloom, they need total nighttime darkness to stimulate flowering.

Extend the beautiful blossoming time of Christ Thorns via prompt deadheading and pruning. But do not disturb them in winter.

All The Best!

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