Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick - Difference Between Them

Written by Ivy

Jan 20 2023

Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick - Difference Between Them

You might be wondering what distinguishes a pencil cactus from a fire stick given how many slang names there are for plants these days. Is this the same cactus plant, or are these really two different species? Is this plant really a cactus, or is it just so named because of how it looks?

We will cover all the information you require about the pencil cactus and the fire stick in this article so that you will be able to recognize any differences between them. If you are interested in growing one of these plants in your own home or backyard, we will go over their appearance as well as the best ways to grow them. Let's get started!

Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick

Comparing Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick

Pencil Cactus Fire Stick
Plant Classification Euphorbia tirucalli Euphorbia tirucalli
Description Unique succulent shrub ranging in size depending on whether it is planted outdoors or indoors. Reaches up to 30 feet tall outside and less than 10 feet tall inside. Stems and foliage are succulent in nature, roughly the same size and shape as pencils, but in a light green shade. Can produce small yellow flowers in the springtime, but maintains a twiggy appearance overall Same as pencil cactus, though typically earns the nickname fire stick in the fall and winter months, when it changes colors
Uses Commonly used as a low-maintenance houseplant or a large and impressive shrub when planted outdoors, but also needs some caution. Produces a potentially toxic substance in its sap, but this plant is also used medicinally Same as pencil cactus
Origin and Growing Preferences Native to Africa and Asia; prefers well-draining and sandy soil. No need to worry about nutrients, and only needs watering on occasion in the winter. Likely only available as a houseplant, as it grows outdoors in hardiness zones 11-12 only Same as pencil cactus
Name Origins Unique succulent structure makes it look like pencils or twigs stuck together! This succulent shrub turns reddish orange in the fall and winter, making it look like sticks on fire!

Key Differences Between Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick

There are no real differences between a pencil cactus and a fire stick; these are both common names for the plant classified as Euphorbia tirucalli. The pencil cactus plant is known as the "fire stick" because of its vibrant reddish-orange coloration in the fall and winter. Due to the toxic sap that is present inside the pencil cactus and causes skin irritation to anyone who touches it, it is also sometimes referred to as a "fire stick."

Now let's get into more detail about the pencil cactus or fire stick.

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick: Classification

Given that they are the same plant, you can group pencil cacti and fire stick plants together. Known scientifically as Euphorbia tirucalli, the pencil cactus or fire stick is a member of the Mostly found in tropical areas, the Euphorbiaceae family of plants contains a wide range of species and types.

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick: Description

It should come as no surprise that, depending on the season, the pencil cactus is also referred to as the fire stick. The pencil cactus grows with succulent leaves and stems, making it technically a shrub. This plant gets its unusual name from the stems, which are similar to pencils in both length and circumference. But how does the term "fire stick" apply?

Depending on the season, the type of sunlight, and the nutrients they are receiving, some varieties of pencil cactus can turn a vivid orange or red. While other varieties of pencil cactus will do this naturally, some fire stick varieties require a lot of intense sunlight to change from green to red. Make sure to do your research and locate a nearby nursery that can help you identify the variety that's best for you if you're looking for a true fire stick type of pencil cactus!

Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick: Uses

The fire stick or pencil cactus is most frequently used as a houseplant or a well-liked ornamental landscaping plant. This particular succulent shrub can grow up to 30 feet tall, making it impressive when planted outdoors, depending on where it is planted. But both people and animals are poisoned by the toxic sap that the pencil cactus or fire stick produces. The name "fire stick" may also refer to its potential for causing severe skin irritation. Pencil cacti, however, are a plant that is more than meets the eye because they are also used medicinally in other parts of the world.

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick: Origin and How to Grow

The pencil cactus, which is native to Africa and Asia, does best in areas with nutrient-poor soil and lots of sunlight. It is actually difficult to grow this plant outdoors if you have any type of frost or a cold winter because it thrives in hardiness zones 10 or 11. Because of this, many people opt to grow the fire stick or pencil cactus as a houseplant indoors. Remember that this specific succulent shrub grows much more quickly than others, so you might need to repot it frequently!

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick: Name Origins

The slang name that they go by is the only real distinction between a pencil cactus and a fire stick. Because of its unusual structure and the fact that the stems of the pencil cactus resemble a typical pencil in appearance, you have probably already guessed why it is called a pencil cactus. However, the name of "fire stick" can also be attributed to this appearance, but only in the fall and winter when the sticks transform from green to a vibrant red!

Pencil Cactus Vs Fire Stick ; Are They Same ?

The pencil cactus and the fires stick are both the same plant. The pencil cactus plant's variegated variant, the fire stick, is the only thing that makes them different. The scientific name is Euphorbia Tirucalli. Common names for them include naked lady, pencil cactus, milky bush, Aveloz, Indian tree spurge, and pencil cactus.

It is claimed that the collectors only brought them to western nations because of the aesthetic beauty these plants possess.

You'll notice that many people grow this alongside other succulents because, once they reach their full potential alongside them, they enhance the beauty of the entire landscape.

They typically grow in soil made of black clay and are easy to spot in dry areas. Additionally, they would be made up of straight branches, and there is a chance that they could grow as high as 22 feet, or about 7 meters.

This would be a fantastic choice for you to start with if you are new to gardening. They are simple to look after and would only need the barest of attention from you.

Furthermore, they would flourish in any growing environment. You might be wondering why these plants are referred to as "firestick plants" in the first place.

As a matter of fact, pencil cacti tend to change their colors to orange or red during the colder months of the year.

Pencil Cactus vs Fire Stick

That is precisely why these plants could be referred to as fire sticks. Do not mistakenly think it is a disease. That does not imply that the pencil cactus has any health issues.

to explain how these plants could be used as fire sticks. This is as a result of the orange and red colors they acquire as a result of the weather change.

It would appear as though they were on fire once they changed to those colors. The plant is approaching the colder season from the warmer season when I say "during the change in the weather conditions."

The more intriguing aspect of these plants is that you can grow them both indoors and outdoors. To grow them, you can select pots or other containers.

Select the area of your garden with the most light if you're growing them outdoors. On the other hand, you could grow them nearer to a bright, sunny window if you were growing them indoors.