Deets: Although very hardy, the Pencil Cactus prefers dry, warm environments. Pencil Cacti like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. You won't need to water your plant more than once every 10 days (at most) during the growing season. Also called "milk bush" because of the sap.
Water: Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.
Pencil Cacti like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. You won’t need to water your plant more than once every 10 days (at most) during the growing season. During the winter months, watering frequency should decrease, sometimes to as little as once a month. Make sure that you are letting the soil thoroughly dry between waterings. Pencil Cacti are susceptible to root rot, so it’s very important that you do not water the plant if you detect any moisture in the soil.
Use caution when handling Euphorbia plants. Though the Pencil Cactus is a simple and easy plant from which to take cuttings and propagate, the milky sap can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions, especially in those with latex sensitivities. Take care when handling your Pencil Cactus, wear gloves if possible, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the stalks often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.
Light: Keep your Pencil Cactus in a bright location for maximum growth. This plant will not tolerate low light conditions. Direct sun, or plenty of bright ambient light from a western, eastern, or southern facing window is ideal for this plant to thrive.
Grower: Intermediate to expert.
Pet Safe: No, Toxic to pets.
Is it possible to underwater my Pencil Cactus?
- It is! Signs of underwatering are typically brown crispy tips and wrinkly flesh. The difference between symptoms of over and underwatering can be hard to discern, so it’s always best to feel the soil to test if the moisture matches with your diagnosis.
How can I tell if my Pencil Cactus is getting too much water?
- Generally a Pencil Cactus will become less stable, droopy, and turn greyish brown if it is receiving too much water. Pieces of the plant may turn grey and fall and although they look brittle, this symptom is often from overwatering. Feel the soil of your plant and test the moisture to see if it matches your diagnosis.