Euphorbia tirucalli is the Plant of the Month!

*Euphorbia tirucalli, Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks of Fire’, Pencil tree, Pencil euphorbia, succulent

This endangered species is recognized for its light green, pencil-thin, bushlike branches with

miniature leaflets. It is fast-growing reaching heights of eight to ten feet or more in the southwest

desert. In its native habitat, it can reach thirty feet with a ten-foot spread. The older branches are

woody, and the young branches are green and cylindrical. This plant produces a group of petal-like

bracts with yellow flowers that are mainly inconspicuous. Its flowers are propagated by butterflies,

bees, and other insects. In warmer locations, a capsulelike, hairy, pale green fruit appears in late fall.

The variety Euphorbia tirucalli “Sticks of Fire” is a form of Euphorbia tirucalli. This plant does not

have the chlorophyll of its parent plant and is a smaller sized plant and a much slower growing

succulent. The branches on this variety are pencil thin with a reddish golden color. The color in its

stems will fade to a greenish yellow as summer approaches. This plant becomes redder during the

winter months and does best when grown in full sun. Plant it in well-draining soil and full sun with

reflected heat or light shade. It is salt and drought tolerant and grows well in coastal areas. Provide

supplemental irrigation during the hot, dry season. It is hardy into the low thirties Fahrenheit. The

plant emits a milky sap when pruned or a stem is broken. The sap is toxic and may cause an allergic

skin reaction in some people. The plant is easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Water your newly

propagated plants occasionally to establish new roots. Use the pencil tree in raised planters, containers

or as a tropical accent, specimen, focal point or background planting. It is native to Eastern and

Southern Africa as well as parts of India, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines ,where it grows on

grassy hillsides and rocky outcrops and in open savannas.

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*Our guide provides informational resources regarding plants that we commonly use. Horticulture Unlimited is not a nursery or supplier. We obtain necessary materials for installation purposes only, and recommend consulting a nursery or supplier for direct purchasing needs.
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