The African milk tree (Euphorbia trigona) is native to Central Africa. It is often grown as a hedge there, useful for its rapid and enthusiastic growth, though its roots are not invasive. Though it looks a lot like a cactus, it is actually a succulent plant. It has many folk names, including candelabra cactus, cathedral cactus, friendship cactus, good luck plant. or good luck cactus (the good luck attribution is probably due to how quickly it grows, and how easily it propagates). It stays lush and green throughout its growing season, and new growth has a lighter green color than the base plant. The Rubra or Royal Red cultivar is very popular for its dramatic coloring: It takes on bright red accents later in the season.
The African milk tree is long-lived and can grow very vigorously, 1 to 2 feet a year in height, to a total of 8 feet tall. If grown indoors, it will grow to about half that height. They're grown by many gardeners in states with arid climates where the temperatures at night don't go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, such as parts of Texas, Arkansas, and Arizona.
This succulent likes indirect but bright sunlight. A southern-facing window will work well for it indoors or an outdoor spot with partial sun. Full sun is suitable as long as the summers are not too consistently hot. Extra watering may be needed to offset too much bright sunlight.
This plant is not too fussy about soil but good drainage is essential. Heavy clay soils may hamper growth, and impede drainage. Since this plant is a good choice for xeriscaping, sandy soils are a good fit, and sandy loam probably works best of all.
Being a succulent, the African milk tree doesn't need much water. If there is a very bad drought, consider supplemental watering at the roots. But otherwise normal rainfall should be sufficient. Indoor specimens should be watered moderately once a week. Let the soil dry out between each watering to mimic its natural habitat.
Pot not included
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