11 Interesting Pencil Cactus Watering Techniques

If you are a pencil cactus owner and someone who are willing to learn how to water them properly, spare a few minutes and go through this article about pencil cactus watering

If I am to briefly touch on the pencil cactus, the scientific name of pencil cactus is Euphorbia Tirucalli. Further some of the common names are milk bush, pencil tree etc. They are hailing from Africa and from India.

Pencil Cactus Watering

Pencil cactus watering frequency

In terms of the watering frequency for the pencil cactus, you need to make sure that you water them once every two to three weeks during summer season

On the other hand, avoid watering them during the winter season as it is their dormant season. As usual, keep in mind that you need to allow the soil to wither between two watering sessions.

Pencil cacti are easy to care plants. As such, watering them is also relatively an easy process to follow.

Best is to avoid watering them during the winter season.

If it is essential, you may water them once every month in winter and in fall. Always make sure that you let the soil dry between two watering sessions so that the plant will not have to suffer from over watering.

These could thrive well in hot and drought conditions and if you overload it with excess water, it could badly affect the plant. For example, there would be root rots etc.

How long it can go without water?

Usually, these plants could survive up to two years without any water. The reason for that is, because they have thick stems which could conserve water.

Further they would consist of a protective layer which avoids any potential water loss too.

Pencil Cactus Watering

Watering pencil cactus without drainage

It is vital that you use well-draining soil if you have not grown them in pots which do not contain any draining holes

Once you use well-draining soil, it will allow the plant to have a better aeration despite it having no holes where the water could flow through.

In addition to that, if you have a soil medium which has large particles, it would also be beneficial since the water evaporation could benefit from that.

Further it will be effective for the drainage of the container too.  You could usually utilize a gritty soil medium and add some pumice in the glass container.

Pencil cactus watering amount;

Pencil cactus are hardy plants which would thrive in dry and hot weather conditions. Moreover, they would prefer to dry between two watering sessions.

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Many people fail in watering them properly as most of the time they end up over watering them. Whenever you spot the soil is dry only you could water them

If you think the soil is not dry from the previous watering session, you need to wait for a couple of days and then water. Moreover, you could change the watering frequencies based on the season as explained above.

How Often you should water Pencil cactus

Best is to water the pencil cactus once every two weeks if they are in their growing season which is usually spring and summer.

When it comes to winter and to fall, you may minimize watering them to once a month or not at all if the plant is healthy enough.

Pencil Cactus Watering

Pencil cactus watering; from top or bottom

You may water the pencil cactus from the bottom. So that the roots could absorb water well and circulate it among their whole body.

If you spill any water on the top part of the plant, chances are that it could badly affect the plant.

Pencil cactus watering in winter

Pencil cactus usually do not rely on frequent watering as they are adapted to grow in hot, dry and drought conditions. Having said that, these cacti go dormant during winter. Thus, you do not have to water them at all if the plant is healthy enough.

If you feel like you need to give them a little drink of water during winter, it could be once a month. Make sure you do not particularly over water them as winter is their resting season and they usually do not consume any energy during this time.

Unless there will be severe repercussions such as root rots and chances are that you will ultimately lose the cactus too.

Pencil cactus watering in summer

As aforesaid, you could water these cacti during summer once every two weeks or once every three weeks.

Having said that, it is crucial that you always let the soil become dry from the previous watering and then proceed with the watering once again.

These cacti generally grow to their fullest during summer. Hence why you need to provide them with additional water since that would be beneficial for their growth.

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Unless you do not water them adequately during summer, there is a high potential of them turning stems and leaves wrinkled. In addition to that, it is important that you water them during summer to produce new cell formations as well.

Apart from this, do not forget to grow them in a well-draining soil as then it will help to move out any excess water from the pot without retaining them in the pot.

Pencil Cactus Watering

Indoor pencil cactus watering

Whenever you water these cacti, check whether the soil is soggy and in damp condition. Moreover, ensure that your soil medium has a good aeration in it too.

It could help the cactus roots to breath well and to release the additional moisture.

You need to make sure that you are watering the pencil cactus only when its soil is dry only. Avoid over watering them.

Further let the soil dry from the previous watering session and commence with watering them again. Avoid root rots by watering them moderately and as essential only. One more important thing to keep in mind is that you need to water them thoroughly when you water them.

Outdoor pencil cactus watering

In terms of watering the pencil cactus which are grown outdoors, make sure that you water them slowly and deeper. You could call this deep soak watering.

Moreover, be vigilant on the temperature when you water the outdoor grown pencil cactus. Consider that you have grown them in hotter conditions, then you may water them more.

On the other hand, if you are living in colder weather conditions, you could cut down on watering and limit it. In other words, you could change the watering frequency depending on the seasons.

If you have a fully grown and larger pencil cactus, you could water them less as they have a larger water conservation and could survive without water a little longer compared to small pencil cactus.

If you have newly grown the pencil cactus outdoors, avoid watering them for some time. You could resume watering them only when their soil is dry.

Ideally, you need to give some time for the cactus to get used to the new growing conditions and then resume watering them.

Small pencil cactus watering

You could follow the regular watering process when you water the small pencil cactus. Literally first check whether the top surface of the soil is dry and only then you could water them. Let the water soak in thoroughly.

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Alternatively, if you have planted the pencil cactus in a pot, you could set a saucer of water so that the roots could absorb enough moisture. When you spot that the soil is saturated, you could take the plant off from the saucer

pencil cactus watering 5 1

Related questions

Should you water newly brought pencil cactus?

You could water the newly bought pencil cactus only if their soil is dry in condition. They could usually survive without water for some time and what you need to be more vigilant is to not over water them.

Should you water newly repotted pencil cactus?

Best is to not water right after you repot the pencil cactus. Literally they need some time to settle in the new growing conditions before you expose them for water. Ideally you need to let them adapt to the new home conditions first. After about one weeks’ time you may water them. 

Pencil cactus self-watering pot.

You could use self-watering pots to water the pencil cactus. You could usually spot them as an outer pot, and they could retain additional water in the base of the pot. They would be quite beneficial if you always neglect to water these cacti.


If you spot the pencil cactus soil is still soggy and damp you need to wait a little longer and commence watering them. Best is to check the soil condition after some days and then if you think the soil is dry, you could proceed with watering them.

Pencil cactus watering requirement is quite similar to rest of the succulents as they are not dependent on water a lot.

They could also conserve water in their fleshy branches for a longer period just like the succulents do. if you have underwatered your pencil cactus, you could see the cactus become wrinkled. In addition to that you could spot the brown tips as well.

On the other hand, if you had watered the pencil cactus with an abundance of water, you may see how the plant became mushy and soft.

As such you need to make sure that you water these cacti only when their soil is dry and keep a tab on the conditions of the soil in between the watering sessions for the plant.

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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.