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Quick Look: Euphorbia

Oh, the gorgeous, diverse, and dangerous Euphorbia. Commonly known as spurges, these plants come from all over the world, but most of ours come from Southern Africa and Madagascar.

Euphorbia at a glance:


  • Many people confuse Euphorbias with Cacti. Some do look very similar! For the purposes of indoor plants, you can organize these plants geographically: Cacti are usually from the Americas and Euphorbias are usually from Africa.
  • Euphorbias are typically quicker growers than cacti. An established Euphorbia trigona could get more than 6 inches of growth in a growing season.
  • These are poisonous plants. Euphorbias contain a latex sap that is very toxic if ingested and highly irritant if contacted with skin. Keep out of reach of pets and children. Wear gloves when handling. Spikes, however, are not venomous, and as long as you don’t cut or damage the plant, you won’t come into contact with the sap.


Freshly potted Euphorbia candelabra at Tula Plants & Design.

Euphorbia Care: 

  • Provide a lot of direct sunlight! We recommend this plant for people who have sunny windows that face south or west. Supplemental light can also be provided with a grow light.
  • Water only when the soil is completely dry. In the summer, this could be once every two weeks, and in the winter it could be once a month.
  • Many Euphorbias are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in winter.
  • Keep in a pot with drainage for several years. These plants love to be rootbound in a small pot. If the plant gets top heavy, prune it back (and propagate!) or support it with a bamboo stake.

Euphorbia Favorites:

Euphorbia tirucalli 'firesticks'
Euphorbia obesa
Euphorbia horrida
Euphorbia japonica
Euphorbia lactea 'White Ghost'

A Euphorbia japonica displayed bare root at Tula Plants & Design.

For a complete guide to caring for Euphorbias, visit the Tula Plant Library.

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