How do you take care of Euphorbia Tirucalli?

How do you take care of Euphorbia Tirucalli?

The pencil cactus is extremely low-maintenance and can withstand a great deal of neglect. It also does not frequently have pests or diseases. If you travel frequently and don’t have time to care for a houseplant on a regular basis, this could be the plant for you.

Watering this plant is generally only required a couple of times each month during the warmer months, and even less during the cooler months. Fertilization is usually done once a year.

Other maintenance may include trimming dead stems as needed and repotting container plants as they outgrow their containers.


The pencil cactus prefers full sun, which means at least six hours of sunlight on most days. It can, however, withstand some shade and may even prefer some shade from the intense afternoon sun. Indoors, place it near the brightest window.


This plant prefers dry, sandy soil that is low in nutrients. Succulent or cactus potting mix that does not hold moisture is ideal for container plants.


This succulent requires very little watering. In the spring and summer, it only need water every two to three weeks. In the fall and winter, reduce watering to once a month.

To minimize overwatering, it’s best to allow the soil dry fully between waterings. This plant is drought resilient, but too much water might rot its roots.

Humidity and temperature

Warm temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the pencil cactus. Temperatures in the vicinity of the plant should not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoors, keep your plant away from cool drafts, such as those produced by an air conditioner.

The plant also grows well under low humidity. A greater humidity level, on the other hand, should not trouble it as long as the soil does not hold wet.


This plant isn’t a big eater. Feed your pencil cactus in the spring with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer, and it should be OK for the rest of the year.

Is Euphorbia Tirucalli poisonous?

The Pencil Plant’s sap is extremely toxic. Wear gloves when handling sap to avoid irritation from the sap; thoroughly wash hands after handling. If sap gets into your eyes or is ingested, get medical assistance right away.

Always keep houseplants out of the reach of little children and pets.

Euphorbia tirucalli, sometimes known as the pencil cactus or milk bush plant, is a popular ornamental plant in the southern United States, however its sap is harmful to humans.

Furthermore, the sap is one of the most irritating plant compounds known, causing adverse consequences after contact with the cutaneous or mucous membranes, particularly eye exposure.

As a result, early detection and treatments assist to reduce serious effects, such as blindness. This activity examines the examination and management of Euphorbia sap exposure and emphasizes the role of the healthcare team in improving care for people suffering from this condition.

Is Euphorbia Tirucalli a succulent?

The Pencil Plant, also known as Euphorbia Tirucalli, is a succulent that is native to South and East Africa. The plant’s name stems from pencil-like branches that shoot upward in a candelabra arrangement.

Young branches are cylindrical, smooth, and green, but as they age, they can become gray and rough, similar to tree bark. It has thin, narrow leaves that fall off soon.

If crushed or ripped, this succulent produces an extremely toxic milky sap. The Pencil Plant is otherwise highly pleasing, surviving in practically any dry and above-freezing climate.

It can grow between two and twenty inches in a single season under ideal conditions.

How fast does Euphorbia Tirucalli grow?

Euphorbia Tirucalli bushes grow slowly, so they do not require frequent repotting. It is generally advised that these plants be repotted once every two or three years in the summer or spring.

When it comes to propagating, allow stem cuttings to air dry for a week or more to produce a callous. Place it in a damp sand, succulent, or cactus mix pot. You should notice development within a week to 10 days.

How poisonous is Euphorbia Tirucalli?

This poisonous, irritating secretion can be found in all Euphorbia species.

Euphorbia tirucalli is the most potent of them all. That is why it is critical to protect your eyes, hands, and skin when pruning. While the tree is used medicinally, its latex is poisonous and can cause skin irritation as well as temporary blindness.

Avoid any unintentional contact with the plant. Place your “sticks on fire” plant carefully so that people don’t frequently brush up against it and damage its limbs. Keep children and dogs at bay, in particular.

How tall does Euphorbia Tirucalli grow?

Euphorbia tirucalli, also known as Indian tree spurge, milk bush, pencil tree, finger tree, aveloz, or petroleum plant, is a dioecious, single to multiple trunked, succulent, cactus-like, milky-sapped tree that normally reaches to 20-30′ tall and 10′ wide.

It lacks spines and is said to be the least cactus-like of the tree spurges.

What is the common name of Euphorbia Tirucalli?

Euphorbia tirucalli, also known as Indian tree spurge, milk bush, pencil tree, finger tree, aveloz, or petroleum plant, is a dioecious, single to multiple trunked, succulent, cactus-like, milky-sapped tree that normally reaches to 20-30′ tall and 10′ wide.

How do you use Euphorbia Tirucalli?


These adaptable plants have a wide range of applications. Along with the prickly pear Opuntia cactus, they are frequently kept indoors as houseplants in contemporary interior designs.

In hot, dry areas, they are employed as landscape plants.

When growing a pencil tree plant outside, the little blossoms give pollen for pollinators, and the plant’s seeds are safe for birds to eat.

In South Africa, “rubber hedges” are commonly grown around cattle pens and other sites to provide privacy and keep outsiders out. The sap has been used to treat sexual impotence and snakebite in African folk medicine; however, this is not recommended because the sap is highly toxic and is also used to kill fish.

Large, mature pencil trees found in the wild produce exceptionally durable hardwood used to create roof trusses.

Euphorbia Tirucalli is a particularly important biofuel crop in Venezuela and Columbia.

How To Take Care Of Euphorbia Horrida?

How do you care for Euphorbia Ingens candelabra?

How do you kill Euphorbia Tirucalli?

Euphorbia tirucalli, often known as pencil cactus, may be difficult to kill and remove because it, like other succulents, tolerates neglect and roots easily from a little slice.

Pencil cactus grows in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, but dies back to the ground with the first frost in colder locations.

A pencil cactus can grow up to 30 feet tall when cultivated outside in the correct climate. Because the pencil-like branches produce a milky, deadly sap, you should wear protective clothes when removing pencil cactus to avoid skin irritation.

  • Cut straight through the main stem using lopping shears or a pruning saw, a few inches above soil level. You may need to prune a few lower branches to reach the base, but make as few cuts as possible to decrease the amount of sap that escapes from the open wounds.
  • Spray cool water on the exposed cuts to stop or delay the sap flow.
  • Place the cut plant on a firm surface away from the soil for one or two days to allow the sap to drain and the wound to heal. If you have a giant pencil cactus, cut it into several pieces.

Dispose of the cactus together with other yard garbage in accordance with your community’s policies.

  • Spray a non-selective herbicide over the exposed trunk cut, such as a product containing roughly 25% glyphosate herbicide. Allow the herbicide at least one week to spread to the roots and kill the entire root system.
  • Dig a wide circle at least 12 to 18 inches out from the stem, retaining as many roots as possible within the circle of soil. As you dig, pull back on the shovel handle to release the roots from the earth.

Exit the hole with the root ball and shake off any excess soil.

  • Remove any residual pencil cactus roots by picking through the dirt. If the roots appear to extend well beyond the hole where the root ball was removed, use a garden hoe or mattock to break up the dirt in a larger area.
  • Get rid of the root ball and root fragments.
  • Fill the hole with clean dirt and level it out with a rake.

Is Euphorbia Tirucalli indigenous?

Yes, it is primarily native to semi-arid tropical areas of eastern and southern Africa, but it was introduced and naturalized many years ago along Arab commerce routes from the Arabian Peninsula to India and Indonesia.

Does Euphorbia tirucalli cause cancer?

Burkitt’s lymphoma, the most prevalent childhood cancer in much of Africa, may be caused by the sticky sap of the African milkbush.

The milkbush (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a tropical plant that thrives throughout Africa and in South America’s Amazon jungle.

Africans utilize the plant’s white sap to produce glue and herbal medicines, and youngsters like playing with it.

However, experts in the United States have discovered that exposure to the sap may render children more vulnerable to the effects of a cancer-causing virus.

Burkitt’s lymphoma is an immune system tumor that is the most prevalent childhood cancer in Central Africa, yet it is uncommon in Western countries.

While experts believe Epstein-Barr virus infection is the primary cause, they have had difficulty identifying other risk factors.

However, multiple study teams have discovered that rates of Burkitt’s lymphoma are substantially higher in areas of Africa where the milkbush is common than in areas where it is uncommon.

The University of Michigan scientists planted milkbush plants in the lab and observed how the sap altered the behavior of the Epstein-Barr virus.

The virus frequently lurks low within human cells, inflicting little harm.

Scientists discovered, however, that even extremely low amounts of sap appeared to transform it into a more active state, in which it was significantly more likely to cause cancer.

How do you make Euphorbia Tirucalli turn red?

The key to a successful red plant is making sure that the sunlight hit it at just the right angle. If you’re lucky, you can find your seedling in an area with a lot of light.

The more sun it gets the more vibrant the tone is going to get and the cooler the season gets also the redder the tone will be.

Is Euphorbia Tirucalli toxic to dogs?

According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the pencil cactus, or Euphorbia tirucalli, is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats worldwide and can cause serious intestinal and skin injury (ASPCA).

How do you prune Euphorbia Tirucalli?

Because of its dense growth pattern, Euphorbia is employed as a hedge plant in Africa. Trimming and tidying indoor plants may be necessary to manage size and improve appearance.

Outdoor plants that are allowed to grow naturally will require less pruning. It’s a good idea to thin the stems every now and then to allow for more light and air circulation.

Whether indoors or outdoors, prune in a balanced manner so that the plant does not grow top-heavy, causing landscaping plants to break and fall and potted plants to topple over.

Always prune stems all the way back to the main trunk.

Don’t cut them in the center because this creates an unsightly appearance and causes the plant to branch out.

To control sap spillage, place cut branches in a tub of cold water. Wipe sap from the main trunk with a cool, wet cloth to assist stop its flow and avoid coming into touch with it while working.

When pruning, take extra precautions to avoid getting sap in your eyes or on your face. Topical exposure to the sap’s diterpene esters can elicit numbness, tingling, and burning sensations.

If you get sap in your eyes, it can cause corneal damage and temporary blindness. If sap gets on your skin or in your eyes, quickly flush with plenty of fresh water.

Is Euphorbia Tirucalli a cactus?

It is not.

Euphorbia tirucalli, also known as Indian tree spurge, naked lady, pencil tree, pencil cactus, fire stick, or milk bush, is a semi-arid tropical tree.


Similar Posts