Growing African Milk Tree: How To Care For Euphorbia Trigonia

Euphorbia trigonia, also known as African milk bush, is a succulent plant native to Africa. It is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and is closely related to Euphorbia ingens. 

The plant is characterized by its triangular-shaped leaves and greenish-yellow flowers. It can grow up to 3′ feet tall and 2′ feet wide.

Growing Euphorbia TrigoniaPin

Euphorbia trigonia is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. It can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings.

The plant prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

When growing trigonia outdoors, protecting the plant from freezing temperatures is important.

To propagate trigonia, cuttings can be taken from the tips of the stems.

The cuttings should be placed in dry, sandy soil and allowed to be callous for several days before being transplanted.

Euphorbias are beautiful succulents that make a great addition to any indoor or outdoor space. With proper care, this plant can thrive for many years.

Euphorbia trigonia is commonly known as:

  • African milk tree
  • Cathedral cactus
  • Abyssinian Euphorbia.

It is called the African milk tree because a milky-white sap seeps out when the stem is cut.

The latex sap is poisonous and can cause dermatitis if it comes into contact with the skin.

The plant gets its other common name, cathedral cactus, from its three-sided stems resembling a cathedral’s spires.

The scientific name for this plant is Euphorbia trigona.

It is a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, which includes other popular houseplants such as poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) and crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii).

All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested, and the sap can cause skin irritation.

Quick Facts On Euphorbia Trigonia

  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Temperature: 65° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water: Allow soil to dry out between watering
  • Fertilizer: Monthly during the growing season
  • Propagation: Stem Cuttings 
  • Common Problems: Aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, root rot

Euphorbia Trigonia Care

Trigonia is a relatively easy plant to care for and is perfect for beginners.

It prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate low light. Allow the soil to dry out in between watering.

This plant is also tolerant of neglect and can go a few weeks without water.

What Does the African Milk Tree Look Like, And How Big Does It Grow?

Euphorbia Trigonia is a cactus-like plant that can grow up to 3′ feet tall and wide. It has thick, fleshy, triangular-shaped leaves that are dark green.

The leaves are arranged in a rosette pattern and have small spines along the margins. The flowers are small and yellow. 

They appear in the spring and summer.

When Does An African Milk Tree Bloom? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

The Euphorbia milk tree flowers in the spring and summer.

The flowers are small and yellow in color. However, they are not fragrant.

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

As a succulent, Euphorbia trigona is used in hot and dry conditions. It grows best in bright, direct sunlight but can also tolerate shade.

If you live in an area with scorching summers, it’s best to provide some afternoon shade to prevent the leaves from burning.

The ideal temperature for Euphorbia trigona is 65° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant can withstand temperatures as low as 40° degrees Fahrenheit but will start to show signs of stress below 50° degrees.

How And When To Water And Fertilize African Milk Tree?

Euphorbia trigona is a relatively low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require much care once it’s established.

Water only when the soil is dry to the touch, and be sure to allow the plant to drain thoroughly before watering again.

Too much water can lead to root rot. Fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a cactus-specific fertilizer.

What Is The Best Soil For Euphorbia And When Should You Transplant?

The best soil for Euphorbia trigona is a well-draining cactus mix.

If you live in an area with high humidity, adding some perlite or pumice to the potting mix is a good idea to help improve drainage.

The plant doesn’t need to be transplanted often but can be moved to a larger pot every few years if desired.

Does Euphorbia Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

No, Euphorbia trigona does not need special grooming or maintenance. You can remove any dead leaves or stems as needed.

How To Propagate Euphorbia Cactus?

Cathedral cactus can be propagated from stem cuttings taken from the parent plant.

To propagate the cathedral cactus, do the following:

  • Use a sharp knife to take 3″ to 4″ inches of cutting from a healthy stem.
  • Allow the cutting to callus for a few days before planting in a well-draining cactus potting mix.
  • Next, water the soil and place the pot in a bright, sunny location.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and in about 6 to 8 weeks, roots should form, and new growth will appear.

To propagate from seeds, sow the seeds in a cactus potting mix and place the pot in a bright, sunny location.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and in time, seedlings will sprout.

Once they reach 2″ to 3″ inches in height, they can be transplanted into their own pots.

Euphorbia Trigonia Pests And Diseases

Euphorbia trigonia is generally a very tough plant and is not susceptible to too many pests or disease problems.

However, there are a few things to watch out for:

  • Mealybugs: These sap-sucking insects can cause stunted growth and yellowing of the leaves. They can be controlled with regular applications of insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Scales: These hard-shelled pests can also cause stunted growth and yellowing of the leaves. They can be controlled with regular applications of insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  • Root rot: This is caused by overwatering and results in the plant’s roots rotting away. It is best to water Euphorbias only when the top few inches of soil are dry.

Signs of root rot include:

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Wilting leaves

If you suspect your plant has root rot, try to rescue it by replanting in fresh, well-draining soil.

Suggested Cathedral Cactus Uses

Euphorbia trigonia makes an excellent houseplant or patio plant.

It can also be used in succulent gardens or as part of a cactus and succulent landscape.

Thanks to its slow growth rate, it can also be planted in containers where it will stay small for many years.

Some good planting suggestions for your Euphorbia would include a cactus potting mix, sandy soil, or well-draining soil.

You can also plant it in a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom to prevent root rot. 

When transplanting, be sure to keep the roots moist but not wet.

The Trigonia Euphorbia is a beautiful and unique plant that makes a great addition to any home.

It’s easy to care for and can be propagated from stem cuttings or seeds. Its slow growth rate is perfect for those who want a long-lasting houseplant.

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, scale, and root rot.