The succulent plant commonly called fire sticks or sticks on fire is botanically known as Euphorbia tirucalli v. rosea. The plant is mistaken for a cactus quite often as it resembles a dense cactus plant without the spines. Fire sticks can grow to 20 or 30 feet tall with attractive red tips, making it an excellent accent or container plant. The succulent originated in South Africa and can be grown in USDA planting zones 9 though 11. As with most succulents, this plant requires little maintenance.
Choose a location that has full sun and is a well-draining, higher area in your landscape. Plant in spring or fall.
Dig a hole 3 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep. Remove any grass, weeds or stones from the dug-out soil. Mix the soil to equal parts of compost, sphagnum peat moss and original soil. Place the amended soil back into the hole and hand tamp it down firmly.
Dig a hole in the center of the amended soil twice as wide as the container the plant is in and the same depth. Carefully remove the plant from the container and place it in the planting hole. Fill in around the root ball with amended soil until it is level with the surrounding ground.
Water the plant thoroughly immediately after planting. Fire sticks do not need as much water as other plants, so water only when the top of the soil is completely dry.
Apply a succulent fertilizer to the soil at the base of the plant each spring. Water the fertilizer into the soil well. Follow the manufacturer’s directions as to how much to apply per the size and age of the plant.
Cover with a frost blanket in the winter if the temperatures are expected to go below freezing. Although it is rare in these planting zones, the plant is not hardy below 30 degrees F.
Things You Will Need
- Sphagnum peat moss
- Succulent fertilizer
- Frost blanket
- Fire sticks contain a milky white latex that irritates the skin. It is also toxic when ingested so keep animals and small children away from the plants.