The African Milk Bush, or Euphorbia umbellata, is a moderate grower with blue-green, ornamental foliage featuring long, thin leaflets. It can be irritating if touched. This plant is best suited for full sun to semi-shade and is hardy in USDA Zones 9-11. It is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant tree that does not require much pruning or fertilizing. It is important to water deeply during the summer and frequently if grown in a container.
This plant grows into a shrub or small tree, reaching up to 16 feet tall. It has thick stems that exude a white, poisonous milk when damaged and fleshy leaves that are 5 to 7 inches long. It requires moderate watering and good drainage. All parts of the plant are poisonous due to the milky sap.
In colder climates, it is recommended to grow the African Milk Bush in a container and bring it indoors during the winter. Covering the foliage with a frost blanket can also extend the temperature range in which this plant can thrive. With proper care, the African Milk Bush will bring beauty and ornamental foliage to your landscape for many years.