Euphorbia Tirucalli (Pencil Cactus) / Ammak / Trigona ‘Rubra’ (Milkbush)


Native to semi-arid tropical regions of Africa and India

Toxic to pets/people

General Care


Bright to direct sun. Prefers as much sun as it can get.


18-24°C (spring-early fall). Give a rest at 10°C (winter), but maintain bright light condition. Protect from cold drafts.




Every 1-2 weeks. Water sparingly and allow barely moist potting mix to dry completely. Sensitive to overwatering, and susceptible to root rot. Always check moisture level before watering. Aerate mix to improve its condition.


Every 2 weeks (spring-fall). Use organic high-potash houseplant fertilizer, according to packaging instructions.


Every 1-2 weeks, rotate plant to ensure even growth. Every 1-2 months, dust stalks with a soft, dry paintbrush/shaving brush and inspect for pests, when doing so. Clear fallen leaves from planter.

Potting and Repotting

Soil-based potting mix. Every 2-3 years (spring) move plant into a planter 2-4” larger (diameter and depth); or, repot in the same planter, using new potting mix, after cleaning planter and partially trimming back roots and foliage. Top dress annually, once maximum convenient planter size reached.

Special Points/Common Problems: 

  • A stem succulent rather than a cactus.
  • Brown crispy tips and wrinkly flesh may suggest underwatering.
  • Droopy, unstable, and grey or brown-tinged growth flesh may suggest overwatering.
  • Avoid mildly toxic latex sap. Wash exposed skin or hands immediately with warm water and soap.