Plant of the Month: Pencil Milkbush

January 21, 2021

Add a little drama to your winter landscape with a Pencil Milkbush, Euphorbia mauritanica! This succulent is drought tolerant, perfect for your desert landscape and adds a pop of color when it blooms. We love Euphorbias in the winter!

The Pencil Milkbush (sometimes called Pencil Cactus) is known for its pencil-sized stems and little yellow flowers that bloom during our late Arizona winter.

If you read the Winter Euphorbia blog from Noelle Johnson in 2018 you might recognize this fun succulent! She told us that, “Pencil Milkbush is a newer arrival to the desert plant palette, that it has a lovely, mounded growth habit with small succulent stems that bear little yellow flowers in the cool season. It looks great in a natural setting, planted next to boulders or in a more contemporary design arranged in rows. Plant in full sun or filtered shade where it will grow 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.” Oh, and while we can’t make any promises, we also hear that it is rabbit resistant.

Pencil Milkbush

Do you know someone that has a Pencil Milkbush? This succulent is really easy to propagate! Ask for a cutting or two or let them know that when they trim back their plant that they can repurpose the trimmed pieces by sharing them with friends and family. Instead of throwing your trimmings in the trash, help reduce green waste by replanting them. It’s a free gift from Mother Nature. To propagate, dip cuttings into fresh water to stop the flow of latex, then let the cuttings dry for a week before placing them in a pot to get them rooted before replanting.

Caution: This euphorbia has a milky sap that is irritating to the skin and eyes, and toxic if ingested. Use care when handling or pruning.

Did you know that up to 70 percent of water use is outdoors? That’s why we love desert plants and feature them each month. Be sure to read through all of our featured Plant of the Month blogs!

Featured photo: Noelle Johnson