Pencil cactus grow in Africa and India, and it is somewhat a large plant. if you think of a cactus to grow in a bright sunny warm spot, this could be the one. In addition to that, if you think of adding a cactus to a greenhouse, you may consider growing one of these as well.
How does a pencil cactus grow?
Pencil cactus or Euphorbia tirucalli is a phenomenal cactus which belongs to the Euphorbia family.
Milkibush, pencil tree and firestick plant are some of the common names which you could use to call them. They have got the common name called milky bush as they produce a cloudy sap when they are cut.
Something very important to note on these cacti is that the sap they release when they are cut is toxic. The toxicity level could be mild to severe.
It is essential that you provide high levels of light and moderate level of water so that the pencil cactus could thrive well.
So here we go and let us find out more details on how to grow the pencil cactus. You could grow this as an indoor plant too. But as it is toxic, think twice if you are going to add this plant to your indoor collection. They require minimal care from you.
It could rise to 30 feet (9m) in height when they usually grow in their natural habitat. Furthermore, it is a tropical plant as well. They carry thin stems.
Moreover, they contain little teeth as well. You cannot spot any obvious foliage and their branches would be the diameter of the pencil. When their branches mature, they tend to form small leaves.
Pencil cactus growth rate
Generally, the immature and young pencil cactus tend to grow faster and when they grow older, they tend to slow their growth rate. When they are in their natural habitat, they would rise to 30 feet and if you grow them in containers, it could rise to 6 feet (1.8 m) in height.
Factors responsible for pencil cactus growth
They need 6 to 8 hours of light
In terms of providing proper light requirements for them, you need to make sure that you provide them with sunlight for about four to six hours daily.
If you are growing them in your backyard or in the garden, you could grow them in the sunniest spot there. During the warm and heated times, their beautiful foliage would be yellow in color. When the colder weather conditions arrive, it will turn red during fall and in winter.
When you are growing them as houseplants, you need to provide maximum light possible too. Ideally you need to place them near a bright sunny window.
You could be a little tricky here in rotating the cactus monthly or even weekly so that you could make sure that the whole plant will get sunlight adequately. They do not like to thrive in low light conditions.
They need very little amount of water
When it comes to watering the pencil cactus you need to make sure that you water them only when their soil is dry in condition.
You may change the sequence of watering based on the temperature, season etc. Consider that you are growing them during hot and dry conditions, then you have to water them once every couple of weeks.
On the other hand, you need to minimize watering them in water or even not water at all. If by any chance you provide excess water for the cactus, it could easily pave the way to occur root rots.
Keep a note that you need to ensure the soil needs to be dry between two watering sessions. If you end up over watering the cactus, that would be the worst thing you could do for the plant.
over watering could take place when you water the soil when it is in soggy and in damp condition.
Pencil cactus usually adapted to grow in hot and dry weather conditions. As such they could thrive for some time if you forget to water them. On the other hand, it could have severe repercussions if you water them too much.
When you water them thoroughly and deeply, it would ascertain that the plant’s roots get hydrated appropriately.
To reiterate, always keep in mind to water them only when their soil is dry. It would be safer if you could apply the soak and dry method prior to watering these plants.
Apart from that, consider that you have grown pencil cactus in your garden where they get rainfall on and off in spring and in summer.
Then, you could skip watering them at all. Having said that, if you still notice that they tend to become wrinkled and brown in color, you need to resume watering them immediately.
They need sandy soil mix
In terms of providing proper soil for pencil cactus to grow, it is essential that you provide a soil mix which is sandy, and which is well draining too. The best soil mix that I recommend would be cactus soil mix which does not conserve water within.
In addition to that, you could add perlite which could fasten the draining in the soil mix and that would be beneficial for the pencil cactus to thrive well. They would further thrive in rocky, infertile soil as well. As such you could grow them in succulents’ gardens and in container gardens as well.
If you grow them in container gardens, you could plant them in a soil mix which has both cactus mix, and perlite mixed.
Literally you could combine two parts of cactus soil medium to one part of perlite and then apply. Moreover, it is necessary that the soil mix needs to be porous and should make sure that water would move through rapidly too.
What you have to keep in mind is that you provide a soil mix which is well draining so that it could drain the extra water faster. If you adhere to that, you could easily grow them with no issues.
They need modest amount of fertilizer
In terms of fertilizer requirements of these cacti, they have very modest needs. Usually, they could thrive in poor soil and could grow in many growing conditions.
Having said that, if you feel like you need to offer them a nutritional boost, you could feed them about once a year during the spring season. You may use a weal diluted houseplant fertilizer for this purpose.
Keep in mind, it would make the same repercussion as over watering them when you over feed too.
The three main principles to keep in mind when growing them are, bright light, sandy soil and watering them on and off. If you do those they will grow to their fullest. As such they do not depend a lot on fertilizers.
Their growing season
Pencil cactus usually grows well in spring and in summer. On the other hand, they would go dormant during the winter season.
Temperature and Humidity requirements
Pencil cactus would perform well in heated temperatures. They would prefer to thrive in a temperature range around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure that the temperature does not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are growing them indoors, you need to ascertain that you do not expose them for cool drafts, particularly from the air cons.
Regarding the cactus humidity level, they would thrive in low humidity levels. Having said that, they could also survive in higher humidity levels as long as they have a well-draining soil medium.
Pencil cactus growth zone
Pencil cactus would prefer to grow in USDA hardiness zones 10-11.
How to speed up pencil cactus growth?
First and foremost, make sure you give them the right soil mix. It has to be a well-draining soil mix which has essential nutrients as well.
Your potting medium should consist of porous inorganic material such as sand, gravel grit or even granite.
In addition to that, it should further consist of a smaller quantity of organic substances such as coco coir and peat moss as well. This would be a perfect soil mix in which the cactus could thrive well.
Besides that, you need to provide adequate sunlight for them as well. These are adapted to grow in drought conditions. Hence, they would require more sunlight to thrive well. Place them near a bright sunny window so that they will perform well.
In addition to that you could rotate the plant which will consequently allow the whole plant to obtain sunlight equally.
It will further avoid any potential sunburn as well. If your cactus is running short of sunlight, try providing them a grow light as that would keep the plant healthy and happy too.
Provide them a proper temperature level as well. Literally they need warmer temperatures.Best temperature for them to thrive would be as aforesaid.
Watering them properly is the most significant factor you think of speeding up the growth of the cactus.
They are not dependent on too much water unlike the rest of the plants. Having said that, do not misinterpret that by thinking they do not require water at all. They need water, but on a moderate level only.
Consider that if you under-water them, then they will tend to wrinkle and tend to show symptoms of stress. On the other hand, if you over water them, root rot could take place and it could even be fatal on them.
Fertilize them as appropriate. You could feed them during their growing season as it would stimulate their growing process.
Pencil cactus grow kit
You could usually find growing cups, plant markets, soil disc under pencil cactus growing kit.
How tall pencil cactus grow?
When they are in their natural habitat, they could rise to 30 feet in height and. On the other hand, if you grow them indoors, they would rise to about 6 feet in height.
Is pencil cactus toxic
Pencil cacti are toxic. They usually contain a poisonous irritating sap which could be toxic when you get in contact with them. It would be toxic for both humans and for pets as well.
Their sap could be poisonous for many animals’ species such as dogs, cats, and horses and for humans as well. You cannot find any safe part of the plant.
Whenever you interact with the plant, keep in mind that you have the risk of getting allergies due to the sap.
When you are interacting with the plant, make sure that you wear long pants, long sleeves and even eye protection as well. Do not keep the plant closer to your kids. Unless there will be unnecessary problems.
Is Potting and repotting help pencil cactus to grow
Of course. You should conduct correct potting and repotting methods to ensure healthy growth of this plant.
The most recommended pot for these cacti would be unglazed terra cotta pots which have enough draining holes.
Once you use those pots, it would allow the additional water to evaporate and will avoid the plant sitting in excess moisture.
If you feel like your pencil cactus has outgrown from the pot and if it has become root bound, you need to consider repotting them.
When you report them, always go for a slightly larger pot. You could repot them only when their soil is dry. You simply have to remove the plant gently from the old pot and get rid of the old soil.
You could trim the rotten roots which look dead, and you could replant them in a fresh soil mix. Wait for about one weeks’ time and then resume watering them.
Why is the pencil cactus not growing?
Over watering could be the main culprit if your pencil cactus is not growing well. During their growing season you could water them just once every two weeks when their soil is dry.
Refrain from watering them when the soil is moist. Moreover, do not water them at all during winter or if it is essential, you could water them just once a month.
Can pencil cactus grow in sand?
Pencil cactus could grow in well-draining sandy soil.
Is pencil cactus fast growing?
They usually grow faster when they are young. Once they become mature in size, they tend to slow their growth.
How big will a pencil cactus get?
When they usually grow in their natural habitat, they could rise to 30 feet in height. On the other hand when they grow as houseplants, they could be about 6 feet in height.
How long does it take for a cactus to grow?
If we consider most of the cactus types, they will tend to show you a slower growth rate whilst taking a long time to grow.
However, there would be exceptional cactus types which could grow faster which could take a shorter period to grow well. Growth rate of each cactus would vary depending on the cactus type.
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