Taking Care of a Crown of Thorns Plant: What You Need to Know
You may have seen it in the corner of your grandma’s living room, perching on a windowsill or climbing up the wall—the Crown of Thorns plant is a popular houseplant, revered for its beauty and interesting history. Despite its delicate appearance, it is surprisingly low maintenance, requiring not much more than regular watering and an occasional pruning. But that doesn’t mean you can just toss it in a corner and forget about it—this popular succulent requires a few special considerations to stay healthy and thrive.
Light is essential for any houseplant, and the Crown of Thorns is no exception. Like many succulents, this plant prefers bright but indirect sunlight. If possible, place the plant near a south-facing window, where it will get the most light without the direct rays of the afternoon sun. If the light is too low, you may notice the leaves begin to fade and the stems become weak.
This plant is considered to be one of the easier succulents to care for because of its ability to survive on very little water. That said, it’s important to strike the right balance when watering—too much water can cause root rot, while too little water can lead to wilted leaves and stunted growth. Typically, you’ll want to water your Crown of Thorns only every two weeks or so, making sure that the soil is completely dried out before each watering and that the pot has plenty of drainage holes.
Using the right soil is also essential for keeping your Crown of Thorns plant happy and healthy. A cactus potting mix works best for this succulent, as it helps with drainage and prevents the roots from becoming waterlogged. To ensure that your soil is not too dense, you can add some perlite to create a more open structure.
Fertilizer also plays an important role in keeping your Crown of Thorns healthy and vibrant. If you choose to fertilize your plant, use a balanced liquid fertilizer such as an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted in half the recommended strength. Apply it every two months or so during the growing season (spring through fall) to keep your plant well-nourished.
With regular pruning, you can keep your Crown of Thorns looking its best and encourage new growth. Pruning is best done in the early spring, when new growth is just beginning to emerge. You’ll want to remove any wilting or dead leaves, as well as any branches that are long and unruly—this will open up the center of the plant and make it look more compact and full.
Pests and Diseases
Like any houseplant, your Crown of Thorns is vulnerable to pests and diseases if not properly cared for. The most common pests are mealybugs and spider mites—both can be treated with a systemic insecticide or miticide. As for diseases, root rot is the most common problem, usually caused by overwatering. To prevent this, make sure you’re not providing too much water and that your pot has plenty of drainage holes.
Just like any other houseplant, good care will go a long way when it comes to keeping your Crown of Thorns beautiful and healthy. With the right light levels, proper watering, quality soil, occasional fertilizing and pruning, this unique succulent should be one of your easiest houseplants to look after. Additionally, checking regularly for pests and diseases is recommended to keep your plant in tip-top shape. For more information on caring for houseplants, be sure to check out How to Care for a Dragon Tree.