Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Plant family: Euphorbiaceae
Botanical name: Euphorbia tirucalli
Common names: Pencil Cactus, Indian Tree spurg, Naked Lady, Pencil Tree, Firestick, Milk Bush, Fire Plant, Sticks on Fire
Firesticks is often referred to as a cactus, however it is actually a succulent! It is native to semi desert environments that can be found in Africa, India, and Sri Lanka.
The plant gets the name from the colour of the upper leaves that turn yellow, orange, or red. It grows as a shrub, or bush, hence a few of its other common names. Indoor Firesticks can grow up to 3 meters tall, and in the wild they can grow up to 7 meters!
Care: We rate this plant as medium care. It does not need any humidity and can withstand a wide range of temperatures. However, this plant needs well draining soil and lots of direct light. The sap from this plant is toxic, we do not recommend this plant for indoors if you have pets or small children.
Light: Does best with 4-6 hours of direct light. We recommend placing in an unobstructed south or west facing window.
Water: Firesticks need a soak, then a complete dry. They are prone to over watering so it's best to let the soil completely dry out before its next soak. This plant requires well draining soil to avoid over watering, additives like sand and perlite are needed.
Pets: The sap is very toxic to dogs, cats, and humans.
WHY WE LOVE IT ! This succulent can be grown outdoors! It is winter hardy up to -4º and can withstand the summer temperatures up to +37º. The cold plays a big part in the mature leaves turning a red or orange colour. We recommend protecting the plant if it's outdoors to avoid freezing during the winter months.
Fun Fact: It contains a milky, toxic, and corrosive sap. Can cause skin burns if the sap touches your skin, or potentially blindness if you get the sap in your eyes. Need to use rubber gloves while handling the plant, especially during pruning.