Euphorbia trigona

Euphorbia trigona

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Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra' (African Milk Tree)

Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra' (African Milk Tree), also known as Euphorbia trigona 'Royal Red', is an attractive cultivar of Euphorbia trigona…

African Milk Tree Features – An Overview

  • Euphorbia trigona is widely commercialized as an ornamental potted plant and, due to the presence of spines, it is also used as a fence plant.
  • In India, the sap from the plant is mixed with mud from termite mounds and is applied to the blades of new knives and axes to sharpen them.
  • In tropical Africa, it is commonly planted as a ritual plant and as a protective hedge near villages.
  • African Milk Tree has attractive green foliage. The succulent’s narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain green throughout the winter.
  • The Rubra variety is known for its contrasting deep green stems and red leaves. The color contrast makes it a beautiful plant to have all year round.
  • This succulent prefers bright light. Direct sunlight is ok, but moderately. Like most succulents, the Euphorbia Trigona can get damaged by intense sun and extreme heat.
  • Do not overwater. Allow the soil to dry out before watering. The succulent is drought-tolerant for short periods of time, so you don’t have to worry about watering it if you’re traveling.
  • It prefers warm temperatures, ideally between 15-27°C.
  • Apply a dose of liquid fertilizer in the summer to encourage growth.
  • When grown indoors, the Euphorbia trigona can grow to 1-2 meters tall. But it is a slow-growing plant, so you won’t have to repot it too often.
  • Bloom time is spring and summer. Euphorbia Trigona is also slow when it comes to flowering, so you’re going to need a lot of patience and space to see they bloom.
  • Oftentimes, these succulents will only flower once they reach a very advanced age (20, 40, or even 60 years old) or when they reach a very large size (3 to 6 meters tall). But in a controlled environment, it is almost impossible for the Euphorbia Trigona to bloom.
  • The Euphorbia Trigona is not suitable for children or pets because the sap is poisonous and irritant.

Why Isn’t Euphorbia trigona A Cactus?

The African Milk Tree are considered succulent plants even though they have leaves. Cacti (with the exception of Christmas and Easter Cactus) do not grow leaves.

The leaves of the African Milk cactus are small and short-lived.

They grow along the ridges that make up the corners of the plant’s rectangular stems. Thorns also emerge from these ridges.

The thorns grow in sets of two, and single leaves emerge from between them.

When grown outdoors, the plant may produce small white or yellow flowers. Indoors, it is unlikely to bloom.

Plants→Euphorbias→African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona)

Common names:
(2) African Milk Tree
(1) Candelabra Cactus
African Milk Bush
Friendship Cactus
High Chaparral
General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit:Tree
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences:Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness:Zone 10a -1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F)
Plant Height :Up to 4-12 feet
Flowers:Other: Does not flower
Underground structures:Taproot
Suitable Locations:Patio/Ornamental/Small Tree
Dynamic Accumulator:B (Boron)
Resistances:Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Toxicity:Other: All members of the genus Euphorbia produce a milky sap called latex that is toxic and can range from a mild irritant to very poisonous.
Propagation: Other methods:Cuttings: Stem
Containers:Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous:Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

Well, we're heading into the Christmas season, so why not talk about the houseplant that everyone loves to grow indoors during this season?

Spiny, heavily branched succulent Euphorbia which can grow to the size of a bush or small tree, given time and space. Very common in cultivation. The branches are upright, running mostly vertical, so the plant does not develop much spread until old age. (This upright branching may be useful to distinguish young plants from the similar-looking E. lactea.)

This plant has a mottled stem and small leaves which appear during active growth but do not last long. There is a red-tinged version called rubra, among other forms.

Handle cuttings with caution. Wear gloves, use sharp tools, and avoid touching the fresh sap, which may be an extreme irritant, made much more dangerous when the skin is broken by spines.

Best form in strong light. Growth may be seriously retarded by underpotting.