Euphorbia tirucalli 'firesticks'
Euphorbia tirucalli is a tree that grows in the subtropical climate. Nicknamed the pencil cactus, this plant is actually not a cactus at all, but instead a succulent member of the Spurge family. This plant produces a poisonous latex that can be converted to gasoline, and at one point chemists proposed the exploitation of the plant for gasoline production, estimating the harvesting potential of 10 to 50 barrels per acre of crop.
Widely distributed in Africa, and found most commonly in northeastern, central, and southern Africa as well as parts of India.
Euphorbia plants require at least 5 - 8 hours of full sun, daily. Late afternoon sun is ideal as hot, afternoon sun can be quite harsh and cause branches to burn.
Water pencil cactus sparingly in winter months. During the grow season, water soil thoroughly, allowing it to dry completely in between waterings.
Pencil trees are easily propagated by stem cuttings. Try to take a cutting that has at least three branch segments. Dip the cutting in cold water to stop sap from oozing, then allow the cutting to sit out and callous for a few days before placing it in moist sand or cacti mix. Place the cutting in a bright spot out of direct sun while it is establishing itself. Always wear gloves when handling this plant. The sap is highly irritant to skin and is easily released if the dermis of the plant is broken at all.Fertilize: Fertilize once every two weeks during the active growing season. This is limited to spring and summer in temperate climates.
Approx. 5-6" tall x 4-5" at the widest point. Every plant will vary in size, color and shape.
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