Pencil Cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli: ‘Sticks on Fire’
This euphorbia got its nickname ‘Sticks on Fire’ for a reason. Numerous slender stems, resembling small pencils or sticks, grow from the base, and during the cooler months they glow superbly in vivid shades of pink, orange, and yellow when grown in bright sun. The colors are utterly stunning and make you forget the warnings.
Pencil cactus is easy to grow if three things are provided: high light, low water, and gritty soil.
- Outdoors, grow pencil cactus in full sun. Indoors, place it on a sunny, warm windowsill that receives a southern or western exposure. It also is happy living in a greenhouse.
- Provide immaculate drainage for pencil cactus. Bagged cactus soil is encouraged.
- Water every two weeks and less in the winter, and as with most succulents, it’s better to let pencil cacti dry out than to drown it or risk rotted roots.
- Fertilizing is not urgent, but if you want, try a balanced liquid houseplant food, feed pencil cactus once a year in the spring.
- Be cautious when pruning any dead stems to avoid skin contact with the sap.