African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona) Care Guide

This tall perennial, which is native to Central African nations, thrives in heat and can tolerate severe droughts.

African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona) Care Guide

Due to its vigorous growth, it is frequently utilized as a hedge in Central African countries, and its employment has been observed during local rites in nations like Gabon.

Although it may have a cactus-like appearance, it is actually a kind of succulent.

This African succulent is a great show stopper, distinguished by its strong tall stems and odd combination of spiky spines and plump leaves.

This tall plant has lovely dark and light green V-shaped patterns on its stems, and its peculiar drop-shaped leaflets emerge from the spaces between the spines along the stalk.

Caring For An African Milk Tree

If you follow this advice, your African milk tree will thrive in your home for many, many years. 

Water

African milk trees require little water.

Continuous soil wetness will damage their roots as well as raise the possibility of a rotting stem, which will ultimately kill the plant.

During the growth season, let the soil completely dry out between waterings; in the fall and winter, cut back even more.

A shriveled stem, yellowing leaves, little to no growth, and the development of dry, crispy areas on the leaf margins are all signs of under-watering.

These problems are typically brought on by excessive heat or light or forgetfulness.

Keep in mind that the more watering you need to perform, the brighter the area.

A weaker or rotted stem, no new growth, lower leaves that are turning yellow, and eventually plant death are signs of overwatering.

A decaying root ball or stem is the obvious distinction between under- and over-watering, yet there can be many similarities between the two as well.

Light

The optimum place for an African milk tree is in a sunny area with a touch of morning or evening sun.

The likelihood of summer flowers will be greatly increased by the sun’s warmth and light because the growth of the specimen will be stunted in locations with year-round temperatures that are nearly constant.

Since these are succulents rather than genuine cactus, your plant won’t desire or appreciate the hot, beating sun.

They need either strong light all day or some sunlight for an hour or two because they are well acclimated to heat and some sun because they are from Central Africa.

The plant will benefit greatly from a few hours of off-peak sunshine since it will drastically lower the likelihood of overwatering and root rot.

Avoid placing one in situations where a newspaper can’t be read without the use of artificial light since the species is intolerant of low light.

If your plant has been in a darker area for some time, you shouldn’t transfer it immediately into direct sunshine since you run the danger of burning it.

Move them into the light for about an hour a day, then back into the shade again, increase the time in the sun gradually in order to acclimate them for about a week.

Soil

An excellent drainage-friendly potting soil blend is preferred by African milk trees.

You may make your own by combining coarse perlite, organic debris, and lightweight cactus or succulent compost.

Temperature

They tolerate certain chilly temperatures but prefer warmer ones.

Expect no growth and reduce watering if the temperature is too low to lower the possibility of root rot.

Your African Milk Tree’s health will be impacted over time by the chilly weather, which could be why the leaves are turning yellow.

As the chilly air might shock your plant, keep your African Milk Tree away from any air conditioning vents, drafty windows, and doors.

Humidity

These plants can tolerate almost any humidity found in a typical home as long as there is adequate air movement.

You could experience troubles with excessive humidity and stale rooms if overwatering is also involved, but other from that, you shouldn’t give this any further attention.

Fertilizer 

Give your African milk tree a monthly feeding of half-strength diluted water-soluble fertilizer in the spring and summer during the growing season.

When the plant is not actively growing, do not feed it. Instead, let it slumber naturally.

Pruning

To promote healthier growth conditions, remove yellow or decaying leaves as well as any plant detritus.

Always use clean shears or scissors while pruning to lower the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.

Never cut through yellowed tissue as this might lead to severe harm from bacterial infections or other disorders.

To avoid shocking the plant and resulting in decreased growth and a reduction in health, always create clean incisions.

If you have sensitive skin, use thick gardening gloves when handling this plant.

The poisonous, sticky, white latex sap of the African milk tree can cause painful skin irritation even in little amounts.

If any of the material gets on your skin, wash it off straight away. Avoid getting it in your eyes or on your mucous membranes.

Propagating

Plant parents prefer to propagate their gorgeous plants for a variety of reasons.

They may occasionally simply outgrow the available area and fail to develop in the manner we desire.

Regular pruning, which involves removing stems or their tips, aids in regulating growth.

But instead of simply discarding those lovely stem cuttings, propagate more plants with them.

Another factor is if a portion of your plant is beginning to appear particularly sickly.

This might be brown or yellow foliage, or it could be abrupt leaf loss on your African Milk tree.

It is always advisable to try to identify the issue and correct it, but if there are no signs of improvement, you could decide to take a healthy portion of the plant out before it is too late.

It’s imperative to just propagate the healthy stems since you won’t have much success using the plant’s already-dead components.

The stem cutting approach is the only one that actually works for plants of all shapes, sizes, and stages of maturity.

Here, you can chop off all or a portion of a stem and let it develop into a brand-new plant.

Since there aren’t many stages, it’s perfect for someone just learning about propagation.

Repotting An African Milk Tree

African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona) Care Guide

Terracotta is porous, so planting straight into one can aid with moisture control by allowing extra water to drain.

Regular plastic growth pots with additional drainage holes work just as well if you don’t have a terracotta pot.

Repotting should be done once a year, between June and July, when growth is at its most vigorous, for the benefit of your plant’s general health.

Repotting them is a fantastic technique to replace much-needed nutrients because potted plants do not have access to external nutrients in the surrounding soil and can quickly use up their supply.

Put on some heavy gardening gloves before repotting your plants.

To make things a little bit simpler, it can be beneficial to add another set of hands to the task.

One of you can hold the container while the other carefully removes the plant, taking care to avoid the sharp spines.

Get a pot that is about 1-2 inches bigger, then fill the bottom with fresh compost.

For the best potential drainage, we advise combining light compost with coarse perlite.

The root ball should be placed in the pot once the pot has been filled to the proper level.

The edges should then be backfilled, firmed up, and lightly watered.

Avoid planting too deeply or too shallowly; make sure the soil level is the same at the base of the plant.

After the root system of your African milk tree has established in its new location, which should take around two weeks, you may continue to fertilize and water it normally.

Common African Milk Tree Issues

Check your African milk tree everyday for symptoms of illness and insect problems.

Although such issues are uncommon and desert plants like these succulents are highly immune to them, they do occasionally arise.

Mealy bugs, red spider mites, or black stem or basal rot may all affect these plants.

Weekly inspection with a powerful magnifying glass can help you find any little bugs.

Yellow Leaves

Your African Milk Tree’s lower leaves may be turning yellow due to natural aging if that is the case.

The plant will gradually lose some of its older leaves in favor of gaining new ones that are larger and healthier.

There is nothing wrong with you or a need to be concerned about this; it is very normal.

One or two of the oldest leaves should mature naturally every few months.

If the pace of yellowing is accelerating or exceeding this rate, keep an eye out for any other causes that could be to blame.

These are the most frequent causes of yellowing leaves in African Milk Trees.

We advise going over each of the justifications one at a time to see which applies to your plant.

We advise keeping a very careful check on your plant to observe if the issue is improving or if fresh leaves are also turning yellow after making changes to its habitat or care.

Black Stem Rot

It is important that you check the plant for indications of basal rot, often known as black stem rot.

It can appear anywhere on the stems as black, corky, gray, or brown patches, although it is most common close to the plant’s base.

Usually, a fungal infection results from frequent or extended contact to moist soil or from cold, damp growth conditions.

Although rot is irreversible, there are circumstances when a plant can be saved. Denatured alcohol can be used to sanitize a sharp knife.

Remove the diseased region while keeping a large margin of tissue that appears healthy.

Apply a systemic plant fungicide to the wound or apply sulfur powder. Observe the instructions from the manufacturer.

Place the infected plant material in a plastic bag that is sealed firmly before throwing it away.

Mealybugs

Watch out for mealy bugs on this plant.

Even if these pests don’t do much damage to cacti and succulents, they can transfer illnesses to foliage plants that are more vulnerable.

At the base and on the spines of the African milk tree, keep an eye out for little fluffy white balls or sticky honeydew.

Additionally, look under the pot’s rim.

To get rid of the pests, take the plant outdoors and shower it vigorously with the garden hose. Allow the milk tree to finish drying.

Use a cotton swab dipped in denatured alcohol to destroy any lingering mealy bugs on contact.

Apply a contact pesticide with a mealy bug label on the plant. Pay close attention to the packing directions.

Spider Mites

Despite their minuscule size, you can easily spot signs of spider mites on your African milk tree.

On the plant, look for a sprinkling of tiny brown spots.

These signify scarring where tissue damage is starting, and the regions frequently have a webbed appearance.

Use the garden hose to fully spray the plant, then let it air dry. Use a miticide with a red spider mite label to treat it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are African Milk Trees Harmful To Pets?

As with other Euphorbias, when a plant is injured, latex, a thick, milky white sap, is released.

The eyes, skin, and mucous membranes are particularly vulnerable to the deadly latex. As a result, if consumed by pets, it might be toxic.

How Big Does The African Milk Tree Get?

After around five or six years, if there is enough room and the planter is large enough, they may easily grow five feet or more.

By keeping your plant in a smaller container as it grows, you may keep it shorter and confined for an extended period of time.

To promote bushing or the formation of additional arms, you can also clip the primary developing stem.

Because you’re slicing it off, this will once more limit the height of your plant while increasing its density and breadth.

Summary

Like the majority of succulents, African Milk Tree plants are among the world’s most carefree plants.

They don’t require a lot of watering, and if necessary, they can even withstand freezing conditions.

But if you neglect your African milk tree, you’ll start to notice how it impacts its looks.

Not to mention the chance of bugs infesting and further harming your plant, it won’t grow as high and will be far less attractive to look at.

You may benefit from some great advantages from having an African milk tree in your house that you might not be aware of.

These plants have been shown to increase the humidity levels and cleanse the air in your home.

The amount of water that succulent plants discharge into the atmosphere serves to control the humidity.

They may also enhance your mood.

This is due to the fact that being in nature oxygenates our brains and makes us feel more at ease, but even just one plant in our room may improve our mood and make us more thoughtful.

They finally alter the mood in the home. Succulents are a great way to decorate a room and fit in perfectly on any desk, table, or bookshelf.

If you liked this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Monstera Lechleriana: Care Guide‘.

Amy Enrich