Pencil Cactus Care

Euphorbia tirucalli

Basic Pencil Cactus Care

Though known to be quite toxic, the Pencil Cactus is an incredible succulent that is really easy to care for. They are often mistaken for the Mistletoe Cactus but the main difference is that the Pencil Cactus grows upwards more like a tree.

Bright Direct Light

I thrive in bright areas of your home so am best placed near a window.

Water Infrequently

I can be quite sensitive to root rot so be careful not to overwater me.

Low Humidity

I grow best in pretty dry environments so don’t try and increase the humidity.

Draining Soil

I like a mix that includes peat moss and perlite as these prevent my roots from becoming water-logged.

Yellow Background Image Yellow Background Image Photo of Pencil Cactus

Detailed Pencil Cactus Care

Whether you're looking to make sure your Pencil Cactus is in it's perfect conditions, or looking to see if one could work for your space. We've got you covered.

Pencil Cacti need bright direct light

The Pencil Cactus love the sunshine and thrives off direct light. Make sure to pop them near a window to make use of all that natural light.

You don't need to water them very often

Pencil Cacti are low maintenance and a lot of that stems from their lack of need for much water. Once every few weeks is totally enough and they are very drought tolerant. Hold off watering much at all during winter, around once a month or every 6 weeks is all.

Pencil Cacti need warm temperatures

As with most succulents, the Pencil Cactus thrives in warm environments and will struggle in rooms lower than 65F / 18C. Keep them away from drafts as the cool outside air can shock the plant.

They prefer dry environments

The worst thing you can do for a Pencil Cactus is to increase the humidity. They like dry environments so don’t put them in the kitchen or bathroom where the natural humidity level is higher than other rooms.

Use a cactus-friendly potting mix

When potting your Pencil Cactus you want to make sure you are using a cactus potting mix as this contains ingredients which help with drainage and soil aeration.

Pencil Cactus are very toxic

The one major concern when caring for a Pencil Cactus is that they are toxic to touch and ingest. We always recommend wearing gloves when handling them and keeping them well away from pets or children who may try and ingest part of the plant. Seek medical advice if you think you or anyone else has ingested or had a reaction to the sap.

Propagate using a stem cutting

It’s super easy to propagate a Pencil Cactus as you can just do it from a stem cutting. Place the cutting in water first to stop the toxic sap from leaking out the plant. Then leave the cutting out for 5 days to dry and callous over before potting in cactus/succulent friendly potting mix.

Pencil Cactus Care Starter Kit

We've put together this great little starter kit that includes all of the equipment and information you'll need to take proper care of your Pencil Cactus.

Common Problems with your Pencil Cactus

Here are some common issues that you might run into. It's important to diagnose any issues early to give your plant the best chance of bouncing back.

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The most common cause of dry crispy brown leaves on a Pencil Cactus is underwatering. However, if they are brown and soft to touch then overwatering is the most probable cause. Check the moisture levels in the soil to determine which it is and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. As a rough guide, you want to be watering once every fortnight in summer and less than once a month in winter.

The most common cause of drooping leaves on a Pencil Cactus is too much water. Check the moisture levels in the soil to see if it is waterlogged and clumpy and adjust watering schedule going forward, cutting down on how much water you give each time you water. You also want to make sure the potting mix dries out before watering again.

If you notice a loss of colour in the leaves of your Pencil Cactus then you might be overwatering. Check the moisture level in the potting mix and replace if waterlogged. Going forward you want to cut back on how much and how often you are watering your Pencil Cactus. They prefer to dry out between waterings and are very drought tolerant.

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