Euphorbia tirucalli, Pencil Bush, Milk-bush, Pencil Tree, Fire Fingers

Euphorbia tirucalli

Pencil Bush, Milk-bush, Pencil Tree, Fire Fingers
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Origin: Swaziland
USDA Zone: 9-11?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunModerate waterIrritating plant

Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Bush) is native to tropical Africa and ranges from Swaziland to Zambia and towards Nigeria in the west. It is an evergreen, drought-resistant perennial, with a variety of forms and sizes. It can grow as a large shrub, 5 to 10 feet tall, or as a small tree, 10 to 20 feet tall. For successful growth, it needs full sun with moderate water requirements.

Euphorbia tirucalli is a mature plant, cold hardy to at least 30 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time. USDA Zone 9-11 allows for the growth of this plant.

In regions with cooler climates, growing Euphorbia tirucalli in a pot can be a good choice. Adding a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot helps to improve drainage and prevent overwatering for a healthy, thriving succulent. The pot should receive direct sunlight for a few hours every day.

Pruning is rarely required as it is naturally branchless. Also, one should exercise caution when pruning as the sap can cause skin irritation. An annual application of fertilizer should suffice to maintain the plant health.

Euphorbia tirucalli is a beautiful and low maintenance plant that is easy to grow and makes a great addition to any garden. With appropriate growing conditions and care, these succulents can thrive and be enjoyed for many years. The plant should be handled with care as the sap from its leaves irritates eyes and skin.

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