How to Take Starts Off a Firestick Cactus
The plant commonly known as a firestick cactus is not actually a cactus at all, but a succulent Euphorbia related to poinsettia. Stems of the plant grow upright with only a few tiny leaves. New growth is a dramatic red-orange color looking something like sticks on fire. The plant's succulent nature allows it to survive very well in dry conditions as a houseplant or in the landscape. These are fascinating plants and it is possible to quickly start more of them from cuttings.
Cut off a stem that is 12 inches or less in length using pruners. Larger stems can be rooted, but it is easier to handle small cuttings.
Cure the cut by leaving the stem in a dry location for about a week.
Stick the cutting in coarse sand or any other fast-draining potting mix, and move it to a location where it gets bright, indirect light.
Keep the sand barely moist to encourage new roots to form. Avoid wet conditions that might cause rot.
Plant the cutting in its permanent location after it has put out vigorous new growth. This usually takes about two months.
Cutting The Stem For Planting A Firestick Cactus
Firestick cactus, or Euphorbia tirucalli 'Rosea,' is also known as sticks of fire, sticks on fire or pencil tree. Often referred to as a cactus, the plant is actually a succulent that presents new growth with flare. Choose a healthy young red, pink or very light green stem with unblemished reddish or pinkish pencil-like appendages. Spray the wound on the parent plant with the garden hose until it stops bleeding sap. This will help prevent the stem from rotting. The succulent should root in four to eight weeks when new growth will begin to emerge. Water the plant thoroughly when you see new growth. Move it to a sunny window in a warm, well-ventilated area to acclimate it to direct sun for a week or two. Plant the firestick outdoors after soil temperature rises above 65 degrees. Water no more than once every other week through the winter. Don’t allow firestick cactus to have wet feet.
Cuttings will root at any time of the year, but the process will be faster during the warm months when the plant is actively growing.
This plant has a milky white sap that can cause skin irritation. Immediately wash off any sap that gets on your skin or wear gloves when making cuttings.
- Cuttings will root at any time of the year, but the process will be faster during the warm months when the plant is actively growing.
- This plant has a milky white sap that can cause skin irritation. Immediately wash off any sap that gets on your skin or wear gloves when making cuttings.
- Coarse sand
- Desert Tropicals: Euphorbia Cuttings
- International Euphorbia Society: About Euphorbiaceae -- Cultivation -- Vegetative Propagation
- Arizona State University: Euphorbia tirucalli “Rosea”
- Grow’Em Plant Propagation Database: Euphorbia Species
- Succulent Gardening: Euphorbia trigona
- Growing Guides: Pencil Plant/Tree/Bush (Euphorbia tirucalli) aka: Rubber Hedge, Milk Bush
- New York Botanical Garden: How do I propagate Euphorbia Trigona?
- Michigan State University Extension: Secrets to Success When Propagating Succulent Plants
- Floridata: Euphorbia Tirucalli