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Rare Species

Cow Horn Cactus (Euphorbia Grandicornis)

Euphorbia Grandicornis (Cows Horn Cactus) in a white pot

This fantastic looking plant is known for it’s unusual growth shape and long spines.

Quick Facts-

Nicknames- Aka Cows Horn, Cow’s Horn Euphorbia, Big Horned Spurge, Big Horned Euphorbia, Euphorbiaceae (It looks like a cactus but is actually a succulent)

Cactus or Succulent- Succulent

Rareness- Semi-hard to find in Australia

Growth Speed- This is a slow grower but under optimal conditions can grow 

Flower Colour- Yellow

Fruit- Yes it can produce purple fruit

Max Size- 2m tall and 6ft wide

About The Cow's Horn Cactus

This iconic plant is often confused and referred as a cactus but is indeed a succulent from the euphorbia family.

It’s most identifiable trait is the random appearing double spikes that feature up the length of the twisted spines (edges). It grows in a triangular shape and will have 3-4 spines.

The Grandicornis shows off beautiful yellow flowers once a year and can even bear a purple fruit.

Being a succulent and not a true cactus, the Euphorbia Grandicornis likes to be left alone and not overwater but not to the extent a desert cactus would.

Full to partial sunlight is best but a little. a little shade goes a long way of maintaining great health but at least 3-5 hours of the day. 

Indoors vs Outdoors-

The Grandicornis will happily live outdoors in a pot or the ground as well as potted indoor near a very sunny window.

Allow the soil to dry out between each watering and be sure to check how dry the soil is. This can be done with a moisture meter or by putting your finger deep in to the soil. You can also check underneath the pot if the roots are poking out to see if they are dry.

If the soil is wet it’s best to wait before watering again as watering too often leads to root rot.

It prefers normal succulent approx. 16-29degrees celcius

Fertilize every growth season to encourage healthy growth. There are slow release soils with fertiliser in them or you can use a liquid fertiliser from the plant shop.

Euphorbia  are easily propagated by cuttings but you do need to be careful if the white sap they release. Do not let this get in your eyes or on your skin as it’s very irritating and can even cause blindness.

Its best to take cuttings in growth like spring and summer. Allow the cuttings to dry out for a few weeks so they callous and won’t go soggy or rot when re potted.

Pests and Diseases:
Euphorbia may be susceptible to Mealybugs, scale insects and occasionally spider mites may come in to contact with the Cow’s Horn. All of these are treatable though, speak to your local plant store for spray on treatments.

What Soil Is Good For Cow's Horn

As with all cactus and succulents it grows well in well-draining, gritty soils or cactus potting mix. Pre made soil mixes can be found at most plant stores. The main thing to ensure is the soil doesn’t hold water and drains well. Soil remaining too wet for too long is the most common cause of root rot.