Euphorbia, Pencil Tree, Milkbush, Milk Bush, Finger Tree, Sticks of Fire 'Rosea'

Euphorbia tirucalli

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: tirucalli (tee-roo-KAL-ee) (Info)
Cultivar: Rosea
Additional cultivar information:(aka Firesticks)
Synonym:Euphorbia rhipsaloides
Synonym:Euphorbia viminalis


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:




24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Pale Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Millbrook, Alabama

Ozark, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Chandler, Arizona

Glendale, Arizona

Goodyear, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Berkeley, California

Brentwood, California

Carlsbad, California

Castro Valley, California

Chula Vista, California

Coalinga, California

El Cajon, California

Granite Hills, California

Harbison Canyon, California

Hayward, California

Huntington Beach, California

Lake Elsinore, California

Lakewood, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California

Mission Viejo, California

Rancho San Diego, California

Reseda, California

SOMIS, California

San Bernardino, California

San Francisco, California

San Lorenzo, California

Santa Barbara, California

Solana Beach, California

Spring Valley, California(2 reports)

Walnut, California

Boca Raton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Ormond Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Venice, Florida

Lucedale, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

Cleveland, Ohio

Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Andrews, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Big Spring, Texas

Cleveland, Texas

Houston, Texas

Nacogdoches, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Victoria, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 7, 2018, Elsinore2 from Lake Elsinore, CA wrote:

We live in zone 9b. We got down to 24-25 degrees this past winter and our fire sticks look amazing. We live on a hill on the edge of town with good drainage.


On May 8, 2015, azsilvia from Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Extremely heat tolerant, drought tolerant and pest free. This plant is toxic so plant it where children cannot reach it. In my area this plant colors up well in late fall through winter with red, orange, and yellow on the newest growth. The colors "fade" to green with the coming of summer heat and it's just an interesting green succulent. With time it can get over 8 feet tall with a woody trunk or stems. Blooms are insignificant.


On Oct 11, 2014, nrwich from Peoria, AZ wrote:

I'm trying to shape my Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'. Where do I clip the plant at?


On Dec 17, 2012, nativelyeager from Brooksville, FL wrote:

In the FL Keys (where I lived for over 30 years until recently, and where I worked on conservation lands), 'pencil cactus', as we called it, when planted near a natural area, will root and 'take off' from just tiny stray pieces


On Jul 11, 2012, imagerep from Westlake Village, CA wrote:

I get more positive comments from people on this plant than most others. Easy to propagate by just snipping and replanting however the new cutting does need good moisture (do not allow to dry out) to take root. After that it's very hard to kill this plant, drought tolerant, unless a hard freeze occurs for more than overnight. Easy to shape using pruners as I now have some looking bush-like and some tree-like, depending on location and the appearance i want to achieve. They also do well in pots.. BE CAREFUL handling by NOT touching your eyes after touching this plant! Intense burning of eyes will occur and I've heard of victims having to go to the hospital for this condition. As stated, winter and early spring in full sun will give an amazing deep red color and in summer will be light oran... read more


On Aug 9, 2011, foxsfun from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

The plant was green with red tips, it has now turned white/cream colored. Our only guess is from too much water. Not sure if losing it.


On Jan 22, 2006, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Sometimes slow to get going in ground.Then, after acclimated they grow more robustly.Great accent plant and i imagine a large number of them in a rock garden would be a traffic stopper.And not as much worry as regular pencil tree from the sap since you most likely won't be pruning the compact globular form of Firestick's. A bit more tender to cold also. I doubt it could be a 9a or 9b for very long. A 25 for sure would kill it.
EDIT: Since i wrote that we have had the freeze of Jan 07 and the chill rain of 08. The freeze had less damage at 30f then the much more damage from rotting limbs in the cold,rainy period of mid winter 08. It has comeback since then from a loss of over 50% to make a nice looking,narrower shrub.Now in its fifth or six summer outdoors in Hayward it was moved fr... read more


On Feb 1, 2005, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bright light/ Sun. to 6' or taller. Hardy to 32F. Water thoroughly when dry. considered rare red form of Pencil Cactus. Color is intense in cold winter months. Protect from frost.


On Mar 9, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great plant for Southern California... doesn't seem to grow anywhere near as large as the non red form- low growing shrub up to maximum of 4-6' tall. This plant is one of the most delicate of the Euphorbias in terms of releasing its gooey toxic sap. Just brushing against this species will usually break off a stem and it will ooze. I have gotten so much sap on me from moving these plants, yet never gotten any irritation (except for those few times I rubbed my eyes- ouch!!)- very individual reaction to Euphorbia saps.. some sensitive, some not. This plant HAS to be grown in full sun or it will often yellow or green up on you, so if you want the good color- sun. Cold makes it even redder. In spring the foliage comes out temporarily- small, soft, succulent red leaves.


On Aug 28, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Like all Euphorbia HANDLE WITH CARE, the latex/sap is dangerous and can cause skin rash, itching and general discomfort.


On Feb 15, 2003, EveM from Scottsdale, AZ wrote:

Plant also called Firesticks. Beautiful red pencils. Native of South Africa. Allow to dry between waterings.