Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

July 28, 2015

Growing euphorbia "fire sticks" from cuttings

Euphorbias do great in the Phoenix, Arizona area, both in the ground and in pots. I'm sure you've seen them around, they look like a bunch of green stick plants. But Fire Sticks are way cooler, and so I'm growing them here, from cuttings. But there is a trick to it, and you have to careful - these plants produce a nasty, burning sap when cut.

If you Google Fire Sticks you will see that they look a whole lot better than what I have here so far. In fact, the cuttings are bland and green, and you will need to get new growth to see the orange tips (the fire).

Once established, euphorbia grows well. So well in fact, that the cuttings that I have here came from a property where the plants were trimmed and bags were filled with them. So, if you have someone who has euphorbia in their yard, they will need to trim it, and you will need to ask for cuttings.

Like a lot of cactus, these plants root easily from cuttings. And like cactus, the conditions have to be just right - not too much water, not too little. Too much water will make the plant rot, and too little will kill it, like any plant. What I did was to take a lot of cuttings and plant them all over the darn place. I'm experimenting mostly, and I found that the ones that do best are in full sun, and get regular water.

It took a few months (during the summer) for my cuttings in the garden to establish, and start putting out new growth. At that time I trimmed them a bit for shape. Wear gloves - that white stuff that oozes out of a cut burns! Ask me how I know! If you get it on your hands, go wash them off right away, then put on those gloves!

This is what a cutting looks like right after you plant it. It's normal for it to shrivel up a bit, but keep an eye on it, and give it some regular water while it establishes. It won't need much! You will know that it's sent down roots when you see new growth.

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