African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona) – Info and Care Tips

Looking for an interesting and exotic plant to add to your home or garden? Look no further than the African milk tree, Euphorbia trigona! Even though it looks like a cactus, it’s not a true cactus.

This unique perennial plant will turn heads with its unusual shape and spikes. This blog post will provide you with all the info you need to care for your African milk tree, from planting to watering to fertilizing.

We’ll also discuss the best ways to protect your plant from pests and diseases. So if you’re ready to bring some tropical flair into your life, read on!


African Milk Tree

Euphorbia trigona grows best in bright, indirect light. If you live in a hot climate, it’s best to protect your plant from direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to scorch.

However, African milk trees can tolerate some direct sun in cooler climates.


African milk trees are relatively drought-tolerant. So, when it comes to watering this succulent, the general rule of thumb is to water when the soil is dry to the touch.

However, it would be best never to let the soil completely dry out, as this can stress the plant and lead to leaf drop. It’s best to water in the morning, so the plant has time to dry out before nightfall.

If you’re unsure whether or not your African milk tree needs water, stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry several inches down, it’s time to water. Over-watering is just as harmful as under-watering, so be sure not to overwater your plant.


The African milk tree is tolerant of many soil types but prefers well-drained soil high in organic matter. The ideal soil for an African milk tree would be sandy and sandy loam soils.

In addition to watering correctly, it’s essential to ensure your plant has good drainage. When potting your African milk tree, use a well-draining potting mix and a pot with drainage holes.

Opuntia Euphorbia trigona


When and how you fertilize, your African milk tree will depend on the plant type and the growing conditions in your home.

If you have a potted African milk tree, it’s best to fertilize it once a month in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to the recommended rate on the package. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer.

If you have an outdoor African milk tree, it’s best to fertilize it in early spring before new growth begins.

Use a succulent fertilizer for the best results. However, let it go dormant in the winter months. Be sure not to over-fertilize your plant, which can lead to leaf burn.

Pests and Diseases

Euphorbia trigona, or African milk tree, is a beautiful and popular houseplant. However, it is susceptible to several pests and diseases.

One of the most common problems with African milk trees is root rot. This results from the plant being over-watered and can lead to the death of the plant.

To avoid this, ensure water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Another disease associated with overwatering is cork disease which causes a fungal problem in the roots.

Moreover, another common issue that can affect African milk trees is mealybugs. These pests suck the sap from plants, causing them to become weakened and stressed.

Mealybugs can be controlled with regular applications of insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Finally, spider mites can also be a problem for African milk trees. These tiny pests produce webbing on the plant leaves and cause them to turn yellow and brown.

Here are some tips on how to protect your African milk tree from potential attacks:

  • The best way to protect Euphorbia trigona from pests and diseases is to keep it healthy. 
  • Make sure it gets plenty of sunlight and water when needed. 
  • Inspect the plant regularly for signs of problems, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth.
  • If you do notice any pests or diseases, take action immediately. Isolate the affected plant from healthy ones and remove any affected leaves or stems. 
  • If you see any insects, try to capture them and try brushing them off from the plant. 
  • You may also need to prune the plant back a bit if it has signs of damage.


African milk tree is easy to care for and can be propagated from cuttings, making it an excellent plant for beginners.

To keep your plant looking its best, it’s essential to prune it regularly. Pruning not only helps to control the size of the plant but also encourages new growth.

When pruning Euphorbia trigona, wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin from the sap, which can cause irritation.

To prune Euphorbia trigona, start by removing any dead or dying leaves or stems. Cut back any long or leggy stems to encourage new growth.

Euphorbia trigona can be pruned at any time of the year. If you notice a leaf or stem beginning to discolor, remove it immediately to prevent the spread of a fungus.


To propagate, or produce new plants from cuttings, follow these steps:

1. Cut a healthy stem from the mother plant for higher chances of success, about 10-15cms long or about 4-6 inches. 

2. To avoid passing the infection to the plant, take clean scissors. Don’t forget to wear gloves. Also, keep in mind that the sap can be toxic.

3. Place the cutting about 2 inches deep in a pot filled with succulent potting mix. Be sure to water the potting mix slightly before placing the cutting in it. However, it is not required to initially grow your stem cutting in water as it will rot.

4. After several weeks or months of patience, your hard work will finally pay off as you see it grow its own root system and start to grow taller too!


Euphorbia trigona, is a fast-growing succulent that originates from West Africa. It can grow up to 9 feet tall in its natural habitat, but when cultivated indoors, it typically only reaches 2′-4′ feet in height.

This plant is characterized by its triangular-shaped stems and white-colored flowers. The African milk tree is relatively easy to care for and popular among succulent enthusiasts.

Regarding the growth rate of Euphorbia trigona, this plant is considered to be slow growing. In ideal conditions (bright sunlight and well-drained soil), African milk trees can grow up to 2 feet per year.

However, even if you don’t provide optimal conditions for your plant, it will continue to grow at a moderate pace.


Euphorbia trigona has many uses, both indoors and outdoors. When grown indoors, it can be used as a decorative piece in your home or office. It can also be placed outdoors in your garden or yard and used as a hedge or fence plant. 

Toxicity of Euphorbia trigon

Euphorbia trigona is considered to be a low-maintenance plant; however, it is important to note that this plant is highly toxic if ingested.

The sap of Euphorbia trigona contains latex, which can cause irritation and swelling if it comes into contact with your skin. So, it is best to keep this plant out of reach if you have young children or pets.

The Takeaway

Thanks for following along on our journey to learn more about the African milk tree! We hope you’ll put this new knowledge to use and that your Euphorbia trigona thrives in its new home.

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