Devil’s Backbone Plant Info: How To Grow The Devil’s Backbone Plant Indoors
The devil’s backbone plant is one of the most popular plants in the garden. Its popularity stems from its ability to grow in almost any climate and soil type. However, it does not thrive well in acidic soils or with high levels of organic matter such as manure, compost, or leaf mold. It prefers moist, fertile soil.
It grows best in full sun and partial shade. If your garden space allows for it, you might want to place some small rocks around the base of the plant so that it doesn’t get too wet when watering. You may also consider placing a few pots near the back wall of your house so that rainwater runs off into them instead of running down through your garden!
If you live in a dry area, then you probably don’t need to worry about growing devil’s backbone plant indoors. But if you are looking for something that will provide drought relief during a prolonged period of drought, then devil’s backbone plant could be just what the doctor ordered!
How To Grow The Devil’s Backbone Plant Indoors
Growing devil’s backbone plant indoors is relatively easy and requires little effort. The devil’s backbone is a succulent plant that stores water in its thick leaves. Because it does not need much water, you will only need to water it about once every 7 to 10 days. You will also need to make sure that the soil drains well but remains moist.
This succulent plant can be grown easily in a cactus or succulent potting soil mixture. You may also use a regular potting soil mixture if the container has drainage holes to let excess water out.
When the plant is about 2 feet tall, you should give it some support to grow on. You can do this by placing a stick in the container or using a wire or plastic loop to create a sort of cage for the vine to grow. This is not necessary, but it looks really cool and is a nice touch in the garden.
You may also want to pinch off the first few blooms that come out. This encourages the plant to produce more leaves instead of putting all of its energy into blooming. Once the plant is about 2 years old, you can propagate it by taking cuttings. Look up how to take cuttings from succulents and cacti if you are not sure how to do this.
There are no special types of devil’s backbone plant. It just comes in a few different colors and varieties. The most popular color is the original green, but you can also find it in white, pink, or red-orange.
These plants are also known as echeveria, and they are native to Mexico, Central America, and Southern United States. Some species can even be found as far north as California and even into Arizona. They like dry, rocky areas and can even survive on little water, which makes them perfect for people who forget to water their plants regularly!
If you want a drought-tolerant plant that is colorful and easy-to-grow, then the devil’s backbone plant is a great choice for you!
Growing Devil’s Backbone Plant Outdoors
If you are lucky enough to have a hoop house or a greenhouse, then growing devil’s backbone plant outdoors is definitely an option. These plants can survive in USDA growing zones 4 to 10, so they can grow practically anywhere in the United States!
These plants can also thrive in direct sunlight or partial shade. If you live somewhere with hot summers and mild winters, then you may want to plant your devil’s backbone plants outside.
Outdoor Environment: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Soil Type: Cactus Soil (or regular composted soil)
Water Frequently: Every 3 to 5 days
Pruning: Only prune off dead leaves and flowers. Cut off the top bud to cause the plant to grow side stalks
Health Problems: Usually trouble free
There are a few things you can do to promote vigorous growth in your devil’s backbone plant. The first thing you should do is make sure your soil drains well and that it contains lots of organic matter such as composted manure or other organic plant matter.
You should also make sure that you water your plant and then don’t water it for several days. This may seem contradictory, but succulents like these need to be slowly dried out before they are watered again.
Just remember, the old adage of water thoroughly then wait until the soil is dry before watering again. Also, never water your plant in the sun. Wait until the sun goes down or grows less strong then water your plant. This will prevent sunburn which can kill your plant.
If you are growing your devil’s backbone outside, you may also want to apply a thin layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help keep the moisture in the soil where it is needed and prevents water loss.
You should also prune your devil’s backbone plant. After blooming, prune off the flower stem back to a leaf node. Also, if the stem begins to bend or twist you should also prune it to shape. Never prune for the first three years of growth.
If you’re not careful, you can easily kill your devil’s backbone plant. These plants are prone to pests including mealy bugs, anthills, and thrips. They are also prone to fungal disease, so never water your plant in wet conditions or leave the soil wet for long periods of time.
It is very hard to get rid of these pests and diseases once they take hold so it’s best to nip them in the bud if you notice any possible problems. If you notice any ants, mealy bugs, or thrips spray the plant with your garden hose. This will get rid of most of the pests.
If the infestation is bad, you may want to throw the plant away and get a new one. If you are careful and attentive, though, your devil’s backbone plant can thrive in your home or garden for many years!
Fun Facts About Devil’s Backbone
The name devil’s backbone is somewhat of a misnomer. This plant actually got its name from its stiff and spiky appearance. It looks somewhat like a backbone!
You may see this plant on your hikes through the mountains or even in the desert. It is very common in the Southwest United States. It is also sold in many nurseries and garden stores under various names such as hedge prickly-phlox, granite prickly-phlox, river rocks, Rocky Mountain bee plant, and yellow sotol.
This plant is part of the phlox or teasel family, which also includes the herbaceous annual known as sweet William or scabious. But, unlike its cousin the sweet William, devil’s backbone has a woody stem, rather than a fleshy one.
The flowers are often yellow but may also be white or pink. They sometimes have a purple tint to them. The flowers are very tiny and look a bit like bottle brushes. They bloom in clusters at the top of the plant and are very delicate looking.
These plants get their name from their shape, which looks like a spiky back or backbone. They have stiff, sharp spines that grow out of their stem. The spines may be gray, red, or even purple in color.
They are hardy and drought tolerant plants that grow well in hot, dry climates. This makes them popular landscaping plants in the Southwest United States. They can also survive in wetter areas as long as they are properly cared for.
The flowers bloom from early spring all the way into late fall. They are most prevalent in the early summer months when their blooms cover the entire plant. Once the flowers fade, they are replaced with tiny fruits that resemble tiny pinecones.
These plants have a history that dates back to Native Americans who used the roots for medicine, food, and dye. The various tribes would also use the plant for ritual purposes and to make arrowheads and needles. The spines were sometimes used as needles with the hollow center of the spine serving as a blowgun!
The Zuni people would use the fruit or seeds of this plant to make necklaces and other decorative pieces.
You can grow your own devil’s backbone by planting the seeds. The plant does not do well when transplanted, however. It is best to plant the seeds directly into your flower bed. You should keep them watered and in a sunny location and they should sprout within a few weeks.
You should also keep an eye out for mealy bugs, as they are common on newly sprouted plants!
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of growing your own devil’s backbone, you can always buy one from a nursery and plant it in your garden or a large planter.
These plants are known for surviving pretty harsh conditions, which explains why they do so well in the wild. Because of this hardiness, they make great houseplants. The only thing you really need to watch out for is over watering them! This can be detrimental to their health.
As houseplants, they will thrive in a sunny window. While they can tolerate lower light conditions, they will not thrive and will often lose their spines. This will make them lose their “devil’s backbone” appearance.
You should also keep the soil less than one foot deep to make sure that their roots do not grow too deep and avoid being watered too much.
The only other major issue with growing devil’s backbone as a houseplant is the possibility of its fruit or seeds falling on your floor and growing! If this happens, you can always pick up the tiny seeds or use sticky tape to pick them up.
If you want to avoid having these seeds all over your floor, you can also prune the flower when it is in bloom. You can also just grow it in a large, shallow pot so the plant and its flowers hang over the edge and do not drop their seeds on the floor.
Devil’s backbone plants are fairly easy to grow and make excellent additions to any home or office. Although they are considered wildflowers, they can thrive in pots and indoors!
If you want to learn more about these hardy wildflowers, or other plants native to your area, check out your local gardening store or do an internet search! Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new, hardy plant to add to your collection!
Sources & references used in this article:
Using the Kalanchoe daigremontiana Plant to Show the Effects of Photoperiodism on Plantlet Formation by DR Hershey – Science Activities, 2002 – Taylor & Francis
The Devil’s Backbone: Race, Space, and Nation-Building on the Natchez Trace by MK Menck – 2017 – search.proquest.com
Pine Hills Area: A Relic of the Glacial Age by SGG Baldwin – The American Biology Teacher, 1958 – online.ucpress.edu
Are plants used for skin care in South Africa fully explored? by N Lall, N Kishore – Journal of ethnopharmacology, 2014 – Elsevier