1 gallon; 5 gallon
Full Sun; Filtered Shade
Ladyslipper is one of the best container plants for warm climates. This striking succulent has mostly leafless, lime green stems, about ½ inch in diameter, that stand straight up in the full sun, or get arched and wavy depending on the amount of shade. This plant forms a clump of stems about 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide. In the fall and spring, unusual slipper-shaped orange-red flowers appear along the stems.
This genus is distinguished by its flowering structure and is considered to be the most specialized of all succulent Euphorbias. Per the University of Arizona, the complexity of the cyathium is due in part to the recessed position of its gland chamber, which cannot be reached by insects, and is believed this structure evolved as a special adaption for hummingbirds. In its native environment, it is generally pollinated by Costa's hummingbird.
A true desert species, Lady Slipper needs good drainage and is extremely drought tolerant. In the hot low deserts, it appreciates some filtered shade. In its native habitat, it is frequently seen growing in the partial shade provided by cacti and other desert plants.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.