Briefly About Firestick Succulent
Firestick plant (Euphorbia tirucalli), commonly known as pencil cactus, sticks on fire, stick cactus, fire plant, or milk bush, is an ornamental succulent with the pencil-like stem. The plant gets its name due to the reddish-orange color and the way it branches.
It extensively grows and makes clumps of the fleshy stems that look like the plant is on fire. The fire plant branches also resemble the sea coral and make the plant stunning to grow in a garden or landscape. The plant grows in USDA zone 10 – 12 and you can it grow indoors or outdoors.
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How to Care for Firestick Succulents?
Firestick succulent is native to semi-arid tropical climates and is a tolerant plant. It can grow to 6’’ indoors and 15’’ to 30’’ outdoors under ideal conditions. So, make sure to follow the Euorphibia tiruclli care guidelines as mentioned below and grow a healthy plant.
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Pencil plant or firestick succulent is a drought-tolerant succulent plant that does not like to grow in waterlogged soil. It can withstand underwatering than overwatering. So, it is ideal to water when the soil is completely dried that entirely depending on the temperature and climate of your zone. In hot and dry summer, you may need to water the fire plant at least once every one to two weeks.
In winter, it may take longer to dry the soil. Whether it is winter or summer, always follow the soak and dry method which means drenching the soil or water until it oozes out of the drainage hole. Then let it completely dry till the next watering to avoid any root rot.
Using a hygrometer or moisture meter helps a lot to determine the moisture level of the soil.
Choosing the right soil is the main step of the pencil cactus care plan, and the plant shows healthy growth in well-draining soil. Cactus soil mix does not retain moisture and proves the best growing medium for firestick succulents. You can add perlite to the soil mix and increase its drainage. In fact, two parts of gritty rocks, two parts of potting soil, and one part perlite works as a good soil mix for firestick plants.
If you are growing it outdoors, add some light and finished compost. Similarly, adding loam to the sticks on the fire plant improves the aeration and drainage of the soil.
Firestick succulent shows upright growth in full sun and planting in areas where it receives an adequate amount of sun helps to grow the succulent vibrantly. If you plant Euphorbia tirucalli in the shade or in limited sunlight, it may show average growth but not do very well. Likewise, It cannot tolerate shade for a prolonged period and develop green stems.
At the same time, indoor Euphorbia tirucalli care demands at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, and you can grow it near a south-facing windowsill.
Temperature and Humidity (USDA Hardiness Zone)
Firestick plant or pencil cactus is a winter dormant plant and grows well in temperature from 50OF to 70oF. The plant is not very frost-hardy and can tolerate mild frost for a very short period. You can also grow firestick succulent in temperature over 30oF or below but not for an extended period time.
If you live in USDA hardiness zone 10-11, you can leave the firestick succulent outdoors, even in the ground, but if the climatic conditions are extremely cold, either move your plant indoors or protect it with a plant with frost cloth.
Similarly, firestick succulent is native to semi-arid climates and thrive well in low humidity.
Firestick succulent has milky white sap that is toxic to pets and humans. If your cats or dogs chew fleshy stem, the milky white secretion results in severe complications, and they may show vomiting or mouth irritation.
Similarly, pencil cactus is toxic enough and extremely irritates the eyes and skin of humans. An affected person also shows mouth burning, irregular heartbeat, stomach cramps, and skin rashes in some cases.
Children are most sensitive to pencil cactus toxic latex and can show high temperature, shortness of breath, seizures, or unconsciousness. So whether you have accidentally come in contact with the sap, your kid, or your pet is affected, immediately seek medical assistance.
So, handle the firestick plant carefully and always wear gloves to prevent dermatitis. Additionally, protect your eyes from sap splashes when cutting or pruning a firestick succulent.
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How to Bloom Firestick Succulents?
The plants produce small yellowish flowers at the top of the stems in stalkless clusters, attracting bees and butterflies. If you want to bloom firestick plants, grow them at an ideal place to receive plenty of light and give the best conditions.
As the flowers are produced in cooler months, preparing the plants for blooming is necessary, and you can do it with fertilization. Give your plants a balanced houseplant fertilizer in the spring so they may get ready to give blooms in the winters.
Remember, you will get blooms only when the plants are mature enough, and providing proper care can encourage flowering when they are ready. You cannot expect flowers on a baby or young firestick succulents.
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How to Encourage Firestick to Change Color?
Firestick succulent is known for their striking color, and most people add this plant to their landscape for its color transformation.
The fire plant changes its color from green to reddish-orange when it has full sun exposure. It cannot change color at a cooler temperature. In addition to sunlight, watering is another critical factor to encourage firesticks to change color.
If you keep it dry for longer or do excessive watering, the plant grows in stress and does not show bright color. So, always give your Euphorbia tirucalli proper sunlight and balanced watering to encourage color change.
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Pencil cactus care is easy, and you can grow healthy and blooming succulents if you follow the right care plan. Just make sure to grow the plant at a sunny spot and use cactus soil that doesn’t retain moisture. Water wisely and give it frost protection. After working on these important things, your firestick succulents will bloom with bright color.