Euphorbia Tirucalli is a plant that is native to Africa but is found all over the world. Firesticks, Pencil Cactus, and Pencil Tree are some of its common names. The stems of the Firestick plant are pencil-thin and become a fiery red colour in the winter.

Depending on the season and temperature, the stems might be red, orange, yellow, or green. The plant can grow to be around 8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m.) tall and tree-like. The plant’s sap is toxic and can cause serious irritations, therefore use caution when handling it. It’s a plant that can be grown both inside the house and outdoors. The plant thrives when given enough sunlight, so whether you grow it indoors or outdoors, make sure it gets plenty of it.

However, it is advised to take extra precautions during firestick plant care, as humans can be severely irritated by firestick plants. Euphorbia tirucalli poisonous latex sap has been shown in studies to cause significant skin and eye irritation. Contact with the sap of the firestick plant toxic to humans as it has been reported to produce serious issues for certain people. The most common source of complications is accidental exposure to harmful milky latex. Skin and eye discomfort, tongue burning, and gastrointestinal issues are all possible side effects.

Lighting requirements 

Firestick plants need four to six hours of strong sunshine each day to thrive. Plant firestick succulents in your backyard’s brightest location. The magnificent foliage becomes golden in the summer due to the abundance of sunlight and heat, before turning a brilliant crimson in the fall and winter.

Firestick potted plants, when grown indoors, require as much light as possible. To get the greatest results, place the succulents near a window that faces south or west. Turn the plant container once a month to maintain even development and sufficient light for the firestick plant.

It’s important to keep in mind that these ‘fire sticks’ are not really plants that flourish in low light.

Soil requirements for growing

Plants that develop as firesticks require sandy soil with good drainage. A cactus soil mix that doesn’t hold moisture is perfect for producing firestick succulents. If required, add perlite to the planting area to promote drainage and ensure that it thrives. Firestick plants, like other succulents, thrive in rocky, infertile soil and are therefore perfect for rock gardens.

Use a combination of cactus mix and perlite to make the best potting mix for growing firestick plants in pots. Combine two parts cactus planting mixture and one part perlite in a mixing bowl. Growing pencil cactus need soil that is permeable enough to enable water to drain rapidly.

Watering the Firestick plants

Always completely soak the ground while watering a firestick plant. This method of irrigation guarantees that the roots are well hydrated. However, you must wait until the soil has dried up before re-irrigating the plant. If you have firestick bushes in your garden, you may not need to water them at all throughout the spring and summer months if you get enough rain. However, if the small pencil-like stems get wrinkled and brown, it’s an indication that your firestick plant needs to be watered.

The frequency with which you should water your pencil plant is determined by the temperature and season. A firestick plant may need to be watered every one to two weeks during a hot, dry summer. You won’t need to water your plant much throughout the winter. Keep in mind that the firestick cactus is a drought-resistant plant.

Pruning Firestick plants

Here we will see how to prune a Firestick plant properly so that it can grow. Actually, pruning is rarely necessary with firestick succulents. Alternatively, you might clip off stems to obtain growth tips. But keep in mind that handling a pencil plant necessitates the use of protective gloves and eyewear.

The only time you should know how to trim a firestick plant is if it develops dead leaves or if you want to keep it at a manageable size. You’ll see a milky sap pouring out when you cut the leaves. The milk bush name comes from the irritating latex material produced by the firestick plant. Make sure no sap from the plant comes into contact with your skin.

  1. Put on some thick rubber gloves and safety eyewear, and cover any exposed skin.
  2. By using sterile pruning shears, remove the stems which are dead.
  3. To effectively lower the plant’s height and stimulate bushy growth, prune branches from the top.
  4. Unless you’re gathering stems for propagation, throw them away in a sealed plastic bag in the garbage.
  5. Properly clean all the equipment used for removing the toxic white sap.

Propagating firestick plants from cuttings

Put on gloves and goggles before snipping off a healthy stem to grow a firestick plant. Stop the sap from leaking by dipping the stem’s end in water. Allow the firestick cutting to callous over for a few days before planting in succulent soil. Firestick cuttings root fast, and you’ll have new succulent sprouting in no time.

To promote good pencil plant propagation, let the cut end to callus over. Allowing the cutting to dry for several days protects your new plant from root rot caused by soil dampness. Plant the cuttings in tiny pots with a soilless medium to enable a new firestick plant to grow. To help the cuttings root, keep them in low light and spray them to keep them wet. Increase the brightness and decrease the misting over the course of a few weeks. After this, you must know how to care for firestick plant as usual after the fresh cuttings have developed.

Common issues affecting firestick plants

Leaves turning brownish

Sunburn is the most prevalent cause of brown leaves in a firestick plant. Although this plant thrives in broad sun, harsh weather conditions or abrupt changes in weather, such as a heatwave, can result in sunburn or damage. As long as the condition is just momentary, this does not harm the plant. To avoid brown spots or sunburn, provide some shade or protection during strong heat waves.

Shriveled leaf

Underwatering is the most prevalent cause of shrivelled leaves in firestick plants. The leaves will seem dried out, withered, and drooping. The leaves will seem flat and lifeless when touched. Shriveled leaves indicate that the plant’s water storage is running low, and it’s time to water. Give the plant a nice sip of water and it will quickly recover, generally within a day or two. If this happens frequently, you may need to water your plants more frequently.

Mushy leaves

Overwatering is the most prevalent cause of mushiness. The plant will seem unhealthy and feel soft and mushy when touched. This is typically an indication that you’ve overwatered your plant. Reduce the amount of water you give the plant and give it time to dry out and recoup from the excess water. Wait until the plant has totally dried out before watering it. If the soil isn’t drying out quickly and is staying wet for too long, consider switching to a fast-draining potting mix.

Root rot can develop if the soil is moist. You can still rescue the plant if you quickly fix the rot by cutting off all of the plant’s dead components. Anything that appears to be green and viable should be saved to propagate.

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