A pencil plant (scientific name: Euphorbia tirucalli) is a pencil-thick small tree with branches that grow up to the height of 7 meters. It’s commonly called the milk bush, pencil cactus, naked lady, and Indian tree spurge. It has a fleshy stem containing a cylindrical shape with a fragile twig that is about 7mm in thickness.
A succulent endemic to South and East Africa is the Pencil Plant or Euphorbia Tirucalli; the tree’s namesake branches are pencil-like and developed in a candelabra pattern upwards. The plant’s fresh branches are spherical, sleek, and green, but with age, like tree bark, they can turn grey and rough. Its leaves are tiny and thin and easily fall off.
This plant needs plenty of heat and sunlight to grow. It requires bright light for healthy growth. However, it tolerates medium sunlight, but it’s essential to develop the plant in a less shady area for perfect growth.
You need to provide water after every two to three weeks in the summer season to grow pencil cactus. However, this requirement varies winters, and you don’t need to give water to the plant. Instead, you have to allow the plant to dry out between the irrigation period.
Temperature and Humidity
As far as the plant’s temperature is concerned, these plants like to grow at a temperature of 65-degree Fahrenheit to 70-degree Fahrenheit. Apart from this, the average temperature of the home also suits the plant’s growth. Humidity is excellent for the plant as it grows in dry places. You don’t need to sweat the plant because humidity helps the plant grow in dry areas.
The pencil plant isn’t very demanding in terms of fertilizer. You should fertilize your pencil plant ideally when the soil is a little damp. Opt for a diluted liquid fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer every month. For best results, you should dilute it at half its strength.
It’s important to know that the plant is extremely toxic and can not be consumed. The pencil’s plant’s milky sap affects the human skin and eyes, irritating them. You should always wear gloves while tending the plant.
Cacti are very strong when it comes to eliminating bacteria. Apart from this, it also acts as reducing radiation. It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen at night. Due to this, pencil plants are an excellent option for air purifying.
First of all, you have to be sure that the soil on which you will report the plant is fully dry. After that, you have to remove the plant from its pot gently. As soon as you remove the plant from the pot, you need to knock away the old soil using the plant’s roots. In this process, you have to make sure that all of the dead roots have been removed.
When all of these processes are done, you need to collect and treat the plant’s cuts with a fungicide. After that, you have to place the plant in its new pot and fill it with soil. As well as this, you have to leave the plant dry for more than a week and then begin to add the water gradually. This would help to reduce the risk of root rotting. In this way, you can quickly train your pencil cactus back if you want them to grow on a larger scale.
You don’t need to prune the pencil plant frequently. If it grows too big, you can trim the branches to cut it back to a manageable shape. Where repotting the pencil cactus is concerned, you need to select an unglazed clay pot that releases excess moisture through the walls. You also need to ensure there are enough drainage holes in this pot. It’s okay if the plant feels cramped, but you need to move it to a bigger pot once it grows.
Just like other succulents, pencil plants also face issues. Succulents rot in case of more or extra water flow—this symptom, known as individual dropping branches, occurs due to overwatering of plants. Excess water also causes root rot, so you need to be mindful of not watering too frequently, especially when the weather isn’t hot.
The pencil plant can be excellent for your household. It’s a low maintenance plant that doesn’t require too much attention. As long as you follow the guidelines above, you won’t regret adding the pencil plant to your home!