What Is The Difference Between Cactus And Euphorbia?

What Is The Difference Between Cactus And Euphorbia?

Cactus is a succulent plant with a thick fleshy stem and no leaves, whereas euphorbia is a wide and diversified genus of flowering plants usually known as spurge.

Presence of Areoles

Cactus plants have areoles all over their bodies, but euphorbia plants do not.


Moreover, cactus spines grow out of areoles, while euphorbia spikes appear to grow directly from the stem. Spikes in euphorbia are usually found in pairs.


Flowers emerge from areoles in cactus plants. They resemble regular garden flowers, having plainly identifiable petals and stamens, and they are frequently bigger and brightly coloured.

Euphorbia flowers, on the other hand, are greatly modified and feature a cyathium structure. Furthermore, they are little and golden in colour, with no petals that are negligible.


Cactus plants are usually leafless, whereas euphorbia plants have leaves.


Cactus plants have a watery sap, but Euphorbia plants have a thick, milky secretion called latex. Furthermore, euphorbia sap is poisonous or unpleasant, but cactus blossoms are rarely annoying.

How Do You Take Care Of A Euphorbia Cactus?

When grown in their natural habitats in Africa’s deserts, Euphorbia Cactus may reach gigantic dimensions of up to 30 feet in height.

They are adapted to desolate scrubland and severe heat in the wild, so if you are growing one of them as a houseplant, select the sunniest area in your home for them and limit watering to an absolute minimum.

When planted as a houseplant, Euphorbia Cactus becomes much smaller.

While they can still grow to be rather huge, they will only reach a height of one to ten feet depending on the species and the amount of sunshine they get.

Watering requirements

This plant’s thirst is quite unusual. They are acclimated to the desert’s harsh, arid environment and very little rainfall.

They, like many desert plants such as succulents, Euphorbia, and Cacti, store water in their stems and leaves in order to survive lengthy periods without any water.

Euphorbia Cactus are winter dormant, which means they grow very little in the colder months and hence require even less water and fertilizers.

You could even discover that you don’t need to water your plant at all throughout the winter.

Only water your plant when the soil is almost entirely dry throughout the growth season.

I always advise avoiding a regular watering regimen for Euphorbia Cactus, instead preferring to check the soil moisture levels every two weeks or so.

Soil requirements

Euphorbia Cactus requires well-draining soil that lets excess rainwater to drain away from the roots.

Minerals such as grit, sand, or perlite should always be combined with a peat-free or coco coir-based soil.

It is critical that these plants receive the oxygen they require to promote healthy development and avoid root rot and disease.

Fertilizers requirements

Euphorbia Cactus only need fertilization in the spring and then every two months until the end of summer.

There is no need to fertilize these plants throughout their winter dormancy.

Use a fertilizer that can be diluted to half strength, and make sure the fertilizer is directed toward the earth rather than anywhere near the plant.

If over-fertilized, too much fertilizer can harm the stem, leaves, and roots.

Temperature requirements

When it comes to temperature, tolerance varies from species to species.

While succulent euphorbias prefer warm summer temperatures, the minimum winter temperatures plants can withstand varies.

In the winter, for example, species from West and Central Africa, as well as the tropical and subtropical parts of America, require temperatures ranging from 13°C to 15°C (55°F to 60°F).

Meanwhile, East African and Madagascar species require temperatures ranging from 10°C to 13°C (50°F to 55°F).

Light requirements

The Euphorbia Cactus requires at least four hours of direct sunshine every day. They’ll also thrive in partial shade.

If you maintain the plant indoors, it should be placed near a south or southeast-facing window.

These euphorbias may be sun-loving plants, but they require protection from direct sunshine, particularly during the daytime hours.

They are still susceptible to being burned.

Why Is Euphorbia Not A Cactus?

While many Euphorbia species resemble cacti, they lack three crucial characteristics that botanists use to identify cacti.

Cacti have areoles, which are cushion-like lumps that grow on the flesh of the cactus. The areole is where spines, new growth, flowers, and other features grow, and it is unique to cacti.

Some euphorbia species are also misidentified as cacti due to growths that resemble cactus spines. Cactus spines are modified leaves, but euphorbia thorns are growths.

The majority, if not all, euphorbias have leaves. However, the more succulent species have smaller, more compact, and shorter-lived leaves than the typical leaf.

How Often Do You Water A Euphorbia Cactus?

It is recommended to avoid regular watering for your euphorbia cactus.

If you water too much, the soil will become saturated, which can destroy the root systems and make your plant susceptible to root rot and bacterial infestations.

You should also beware that too much water will cause your plant to droop, which is a sign of being over-watered.

Instead, use a gentle misting technique whenever the leaves start to droop. Make sure that the misting is only done when the leaves have stopped drooping.

Euphorbia Cactus are winter dormant, which means they grow very little in the colder months and hence require even less water and fertilizers.

You could even discover that you don’t need to water your plant at all throughout the winter.

Only water your plant when the soil is almost entirely dry throughout the growth season. I always advise avoiding a regular watering regimen for Euphorbia Cactus, instead preferring to check the soil moisture levels every two weeks or so.

To check if the soil is entirely dry, simply put two fingers at least two inches into it. Alternatively – and always a good idea if you are a touch too enthusiastic about watering your plants – get a soil moisture test kit.

This removes the guesswork from watering your plants and can be used to evaluate the moisture levels of all your plants.

If the soil deep beneath the surface is dry, you can water your Euphorbia Cactus. If it isn’t dry and still feels damp to the touch, don’t water it.

When watering any succulent plants, I find that a long-spouted watering can that guides water flow straight to the soil is a wonderful idea.

This is due to the fact that any water that lingers on the leaves or stems might induce rot if the sun is not hot enough to immediately evaporate it.

Brown, yellow, or mushy leaves, as well as soil that remains moist for an extended period of time, are signs of overwatering.

Euphorbia Cactus are also sensitive to dampness. A water-rich environment, such the water that lingers on their leaves and stems, may cause rot and long-term harm to your plant.

Although unusual, a symptom of under-watering is when your plant seems wilted or floppy, and leaves – if present on your Euphorbia Cactus kind – appear drooping.

Does Euphorbia Cactus Flowers?

The beauty of Euphorbia Cactus is in its cactus-like shape and form, not in its capacity to produce blooms.

In reality, in the natural, these plants will only produce fruit and flowers. Even then, the blooms are uninteresting, tiny, and boring.

Flowers bloom in their native environment throughout the summer. They are small, unobtrusive, and usually crowded close to the stem.

They appear to be petals, but they are actually bracts (leaves). These are usually the most vibrant elements of the exhibit.

Is Euphorbia Ammak A Cactus?

The Euphorbia Ammak cactus, sometimes known as the Desert Cactus, is not a cactus at all.

This succulent endemic to Saudi Arabia and Yemen may reach a staggering height of 30 feet or more.

This plant is simple to care for and does not take a lot of time to develop.

It flourishes in arid conditions and, unlike other cactus types, does not require much water.

Despite its similarities, the euphorbia ammak cactus and other cacti have significant key distinctions.

Unlike cacti, which generate huge and colourful blooms, Euphorbia cactus produces petite, light white to green flowers.

When damaged, the euphorbia ammak secretes a deadly latex-like substance that cacti do not produce. The majority of euphorbia ammak are consistently dark green.

Is Euphorbia Trigona A Cactus?

The African milk tree (Euphorbia Trigona) is a Central African native. Because of its quick and passionate development, it is frequently used as a hedge.

This plant resembles a cactus, thus the titles candelabra cactus, cathedral cactus, friendship cactus, and good luck cactus, however it is actually a succulent plant.

It has triangular stems and three unique sides that are seamed with ridges.

The ridges are covered in thorns and teardrop-shaped leaves.

Throughout the growing season, this plant remains lush and green, with new growth sprouting a light green colour.

Which Of The Euphorbia Family Is A Cactus?

Euphorbia is only one genus in the Euphorbiaceae family. Spurges are another name for them.

There are about 2,000 Euphorbia species, including popular houseplants like speckled spurge (Euphorbia lactea), pencil tree (Euphorbia tirucalli), and crown of thorns (E. milii).

Cacti belong to the Cactaceae family. The family has over 2,000 species but is classified into approximately 175 genera, which include Opuntia, Echinocactus, Mammillaria, and Cereus.

It is believed that somewhat fewer than half of the Euphorbia species are succulent.

Many popular houseplant species are succulents because they thrive with little water and enough sunlight, in addition to being incredibly gorgeous.

Euphorbia species range from cactus-like specimens to the poinsettias that many people buy during the holidays.

Poinsettias are actually a Euphorbia — the Latin name is Euphorbia pulcherrima. Poinsettias are an excellent example of a non-succulent Euphorbia.

What Do Euphorbia And Cacti Have In Common?

Many euphorbia species are stem succulents, like cacti, and as such have evolved physiologically similar to cacti in certain aspects.

This is due to the fact that they are both dealing with the same climatic circumstances — hot, dry desert.

These stem succulents have evolved to absorb energy for photosynthesis through their stems rather than their leaves, allowing them to burrow down and store as much water as possible inside their stems while still producing energy and food.

Many succulent euphorbias utilise CAM photosynthesis as well. This method is ideal for arid regions because it assists plants in minimizing water loss while the sun is shining.

How Do You Propagate Euphorbia Cactus?

If you want to propagate Cactus Euphobia, you’ll probably need to do it via stem cutting because seeds are difficult to come by unless you have access to those growing in the wild.

Stem cutting propagation is simple enough, and results are faster if done in the summer, when the weather is typically warmer and the plant is actively developing.

Find a healthy-looking stem first. The length of the cutting will vary depending on the kind of Cactus Euphobia from which you are propagating. It must be long enough to protrude from a tiny pot filled with a mineral such as perlite.

To avoid irritation from the poisonous sap, cut with a sterile and sharp knife or pair of scissors and always wear protective gear.

Allow 2-3 days for the cut to callous. It must be thoroughly dried before planting.

Dip the cutting in rooting hormone once it has calloused over.

Backfill a tiny pot with a mineral like as perlite or grit to ensure the cutting is securely rooted. Only the top half to one inch of the stem cutting should protrude.

Place in a warm location with lots of natural light and only water when the grit or perlite is dry.

You’ll need to be patient, but new roots will sprout soon.

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