Euphorbia Cactus Care & Propagation Guide

Written by Ivy

Oct 18 2021

Euphorbia Cactus Care & Propagation Guide
From annual, biennial or perennial herbs to woody shrubs or trees, Euphorbia cactus has a toxic milky juice called latex. The leaves of Euphorbia cactus can be opposite, alternate, or whorled. Euphorbia cactus usually has small leaves. All members of the genus have unisexual flowers. Most species are monoecious, producing male and female flowers on the same plant, and a few are dioecious, producing male and female flowers on different plants. The fruit of Euphorbia cactus is usually a three valved capsule, sometimes explosively ejecting its oval or spherical seeds at maturity.

Euphorbia Cactus Quick Info

Botanical/Scientific Name Euphorbia Trigona
Common Name African Milk Tree
Varieties Euphorbia milii,Euphorbia obesa,Euphorbia lactea White Ghost
Uses Asthma, bronchitis, and chest congestion
Origin The deserts of Southern Africa and Madagascar
Light Care Plenty of light
Soil Care Acidic, neutral or alkaline soil
Temperature Care Between 64°F and 78°F (18°C – 26°C)
Humidity Care Doesn't need any extra humidity
Watering Every two weeks in the summer time
Pruning Care Cactus pruning is not always necessary
Fertilizer Care Light feeding of balanced water-soluble succulent fertilizer monthly
Propagation Propagate Cactus during spring or summer 
Toxic Highly toxic and an irritant to the skin and eye

Euphorbia Cactus Care in Detail

Euphorbia Cactus Care & Propagation Guide

Euphorbia Cactus Watering

The water demand of Euphorbia cactus is not much. It can be watered once a week during the growth period. In cold winter, it needs to be watered once a month. In summer, it can also be cooled by spraying water. Every time we water Euphorbia cactus, the amount of water must be moderate to ensure that each watering needs to be thoroughly watered. We can't only pour half of the water, but let the roots fully absorb the water. We also need to maintain a certain water temperature to ensure that the water temperature is equal to the room temperature, so that the root of Euphorbia cactus will not be damaged.

Euphorbia Cactus Soil

Euphorbia cactus needs well drained soil, and Euphorbia cactus can thrive in poor and dry soil.
Most Euphorbia cactus can use the soil in the vegetable garden when planting. After all, the soil in the vegetable garden is more fertile. Even Euphorbia cactus, who likes sandy granular soil best, can be replanted with simple garden soil, but pay attention to watering in management. The common cactus can be planted with simple vegetable garden soil, and will grow very vigorously. Of course, vegetable garden soil can also be used with some river sand, perlite or other granular materials. For this kind of soil, it is best to add some perlite, river sand, rotten sawdust, grain bran, small stones or mountain skin soil to prepare the soil of Euphorbia cactus, reduce the viscosity of the soil, and increase the water retention, water permeability and air permeability of the soil. Reduce soil cracks and hardening. For some sandy soils with low viscosity, we can use them directly or with a little cooperation. We can pay attention to watering and fertilization.

Euphorbia Cactus Light

The light of Euphorbia cactus is the key factor, especially in the growth period, it must be supplemented with enough sunshine, and it can be placed under full sunlight in winter. 

Euphorbia Cactus Temperature

Euphorbia cactus likes a warm climate and grows well in the range of about 20-30 ℃, and the growth rate of Euphorbia cactus is also fast. Although it can withstand high temperature in summer, it is best not to exceed 35 degrees Celsius, and timely ventilation and cooling are required. Euphorbia cactus can't stand the cold climate in winter. If the temperature is low, it will lead to frostbite. The minimum temperature can't be lower than 12 degrees Celsius. It needs to be moved to the indoor maintenance in time around the middle of October.

Euphorbia Cactus Humidity

The root of Euphorbia cactus can't stand water and humidity. It doesn't need much water. It can supply water according to the growth state. It can supply water once a week during the growth 

Euphorbia Cactus Fertilizer

Euphorbia cactus is a kind of fertilizer loving plant. If there is a demand for fertilizer, we can apply fertilizer to Euphorbia cactus once a month.

Euphorbia Cactus Pruning

There is no fixed time for Euphorbia cactus pruning. We'd better choose spring. At this time, Euphorbia cactus grows vigorously and recovers faster. In fact, Euphorbia cactus can be trimmed every day. When the new Euphorbia cactus grows to about 10-15cm, it can be trimmed. We can cut off the top part of Euphorbia cactus, leaving three branches with good growth, which can promote the growth of branches.
We wait until the Euphorbia cactus grows to about 20-25cm again, and cut off the part on the top again. When the branch is about 10cm high, it should also be cut off. After pruning, it can have more ornamental value and make the whole Euphorbia cactus more plump and beautiful.

Euphorbia Cactus Repotting

If we find that Euphorbia cactus has rotten roots, we should first remove the pot and be careful not to damage the roots of Euphorbia cactus. After taking out the, we will treat the root. If the rot is not serious, we can cut off the rotten part, and then wash and dry it. After that, we can use rotten leaf soil, garden soil and sandy soil to prepare new soil. New flowerpots can be used, and old flowerpots can also be exposed to the sun. Fill the flowerpot with a layer of soil, then comb the remaining roots of Euphorbia cactus and plant them in the flowerpot. If we find that Euphorbia cactus has signs of rotten roots, first shovel it around the basin with a knife to loosen the basin soil, then hold the bottom of the flowerpot with one hand and the plant with gloves on the other hand, and then take off Euphorbia cactus. In this process, we must pay attention not to damage the roots.
Then we need to treat the root of Euphorbia cactus, shake off the old soil attached to the root, and then observe the whole root. If the degree of decay is not serious, the rotten part can be cut off with a knife.
Then we can comb the root position, wash it in clean water, and then dry it next to it. After drying, apply carbendazim on the incision. If the situation is very serious, you can cut off the roots directly, and then use the strong stems for cutting.
After the rotten roots of Euphorbia cactus appear, the soil will contain bacteria, so it is best to prepare new soil, which is mixed with rotten leaf soil, garden soil and sandy soil. The flowerpot can be replaced with a new one, or the old flowerpot after exposure can be used. We can fill the flowerpot with a layer of soil, then comb the remaining roots of Euphorbia cactus, put them in the middle of the prepared new soil, and shake gently while filling the soil. After planting, pay attention to the later maintenance, especially the moisture control.

Euphorbia Cactus Pest & Disease Control

Stem rot

Euphorbia cactus stem rot is caused by Euphorbia, which usually invades greenhouse plants, but it may also be a problem in family gardens. It is more common on damaged Euphorbia cactus and is usually transmitted by spores of contaminated water splashed on Euphorbia cactus. The dark rotten area with soft touch moves down from the top of the branch, causing the branch to die. The only control measure is the removal of diseased plants.

Root rot

Euphorbia cactus root rot or black root rot is caused by various fungal pathogens. Fungi grow in soils with pH between 5 and 8.5 and soil temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and are exacerbated by soil water saturation. Fungi can spread from infected soil or sphagnum to healthy Euphorbia cactus, or from water splashed from other flower pots to healthy Candlestick cactus. The affected plants are stunted, yellow or brown discoloration appears on the neck, spread to the whole plant, and leave soft and colorless jelly inside. The only control measure is to remove plants because fungicides are ineffective.


Powdery mildew on Euphorbia cactus is caused by several factors, including high humidity, too little ventilation or light, and lack of nutrition. Preventive measures include planting Euphorbia cactus in sunny places with enough space between other plants. Then, use water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted to one quarter of the concentration, usually 1 / 4 teaspoon per gallon of water, and water once a week during the growing season. Check the brand specific dilution ratio on the label. Control of infected Euphorbia cactus includes washing affected parts with mild soapy water or removing affected branches or whole plants.

Euphorbia Cactus Propagation

Euphorbia Cactus Cutting Propagation

During the Euphorbia cactus cutting propagation in summer, we should pay attention to the later maintenance, do not expose the wound to the hot sun to prevent burns and infection, and pay attention to ventilation. At this time, the temperature is high to prevent infection at the wound. In winter, if Euphorbia cactus cutting propagation, pay attention to keep warm, don't get frostbite, and choose indoor operation. No matter when the trimming is finished, the wound shall not be stained with water to prevent infection. We should pay attention that the juice from the plants can't flow to our hands. After that, we can apply carbendazim for disinfection and sterilization.
For Euphorbia cactus, leaf cutting is not feasible. Euphorbia cactus itself will not have leaves on the whole plant, and it is more difficult to realize leaf cutting propagation. Euphorbia cactus cutting is the most commonly used breeding method, which is carried out by using stem segments. It is also the simplest and easy to operate breeding method, and the survival rate is also the highest. It can be used at home every day. Choose may to September, when the climate is mild and suitable, but the middle summer is not suitable. We can cut a section of stem from the growing euphorbia cactus, keep the length at about 10cm, dry it slightly and insert it into the sand bed. As long as the surrounding environment is suitable, we can take root after a period of time, continue to raise it or transplant it to other places.

Euphorbia Cactus Division Propagation

The time of Euphorbia cactus division promotion is not very limited. It can be carried out from May to September every year, not in summer. The wound is vulnerable to infection and affects the survival and growth in the later stage. Cold winter is also inappropriate, and it is difficult for the incision to heal normally. Cut about 5-6cm stem segments from the upper end of the Euphorbia cactus division propagation as cuttings. First place them in a cool place for a period of time, about a week, and then dry them. After the incision is dry, division can be carried out.

Euphorbia Cactus Types

  • Euphorbia Abdelkuri
  • Euphorbia Aeruginosa
  • Euphorbia Albipollenifera
  • Euphorbia Ambovombensis
  • Euphorbia Antisyphilitica
  • Euphorbia Arbuscula
  • Euphorbia Atrox
  • Euphorbia Bupleurifolia
  • Euphorbia Canariensis
  • Euphorbia Capsaintemariensis

Euphorbia Cactus Care FAQs

Is euphorbia a cactus?

I often see Euphorbia confused with cactus, which makes sense! For example, many Euphorbia are sold as cactus in nurseries or have a common name using the word "cactus". In addition, it is difficult to distinguish the difference between the two plants visually. Many juicy europorbia look very much like cactus, with branched arms, ribs and fragile parts. But in fact, Euphorbia and Cactu are different.

What is Large euphorbia cactus look like?

Juicy large europorbia cactus can survive drought, but that doesn't mean they need it. From spring to autumn, when the surface of the soil feels dry, the water will dry. We should reduce the watering of large europorbia cactus in winter and give them enough water to prevent withering. In the warm season, the best time to water Euphorbia officinalis in a day is at night. Watering in the morning before the temperature rises is also acceptable and may even be better in winter. Large europorbia cactus has its own nutritional needs, but each kind of large europorbia cactus will benefit from fertilizer. Potted plants need to be fed regularly. Balanced fertilizer was applied in the formula of 10-10-10npk and diluted to 1 / 4 strength every week in the growing season.