Can Euphorbia Grow Indoors

Have a space in your home that receives a lot of light and begs for a plant? With the right care and attention, columnar euphorbia, which are intricate, sculptural succulents, will thrive inside. Continue reading for information on growing euphorbia as indoor plants as well as other fascinating facts about this beautiful plant. So come choose your favorite euphorbia at Flora Grubb Gardens, our store in San Francisco!

Let’s first address the biggest issue in the room: euphorbia are not cactus!

Despite having a similar appearance, cactus and columnar euphorbia are separate plants. You may observe the cactus’ rigid, upright trunk and arms if you look at a Saguaro. It grows in the desert and has spikes to protect itself from predators. Then take a look at a candelabra tree, which is a kind of euphorbia and has arms that are spiky for defense. In the desert, candelabra trees can also be found. What makes a difference, then? Contrary to popular belief, there are no cacti outside of the “New World.” Surely Africa has cacti, right? True, there are no cacti in Africa.

Understanding convergent evolution, which is described as “the process by which creatures that are not closely related independently evolve identical features as a result of needing to adapt to comparable habitats or ecological niches,” is necessary to reconcile this finding. In summary, because they were compelled to evolve in the same manner and under comparable circumstances, cactus and euphorbia are almost identical. Because this is an effective method for storing water, they are columnar. Spikes are used to protect that water. Despite having a similar appearance, they are totally unrelated despite having diverged over vast distances.

How do we tell the difference, then? The key differentiator is the flowers. Cactus blossoms are enormous, delicate, and frequently vividly colored. They are frequently pollinated by birds or bats. Fly pollination is common for euphorbia blooms, which are tiny, often green, and somewhat unimpressive. Whereas at first glance the spikes appear to be similar, closer examination reveals that euphorbia has thorns while cactus has spines (a modified leaf) (a modified stem). The majority of euphorbia have a toxic latex sap to aid in their defense, which is another distinct feature.

Columnar Euphorbia thrive well indoors when planted in a cactus mix that drains quickly. Here are some tips for taking care of them at home:

Euphorbias are warm-blooded plants, therefore south or west-facing windows inside—where the plant receives four or more hours of direct sunlight daily—are ideal, though they can also grow in extremely intense indirect light. If placed within 18 inches of a window, they could burn because their skin is more sensitive than cactus. To avoid this, arrange them so that they are angled toward the window. Make sure the plant has adequate drainage and is kept as warm as you can if you are growing it in bright indirect light.

Since these plants grow throughout the summer, water should be progressively increased through late spring and into the season when they can experience dryness without becoming completely parched. This indicates that the soil does not feel damp or chalky or cracked throughout the entire container. During this time, don’t leave them to sit about completely dry; shriveling is a sign that they haven’t received enough water. Although fertilizer is typically not necessary, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer in the summer at 1/4 strength.

During the fall, water should be gradually reduced. Euphorbia naturally receive relatively little winter precipitation. They should become completely dry between waterings over the winter. Make sure to let your euphorbia stand in a saucer of water until it has completely absorbed the water because it can be difficult to rehydrate a completely dry plant (as it is like a dry sponge, where water will just run off). Until there is standing water in the saucer that isn’t being absorbed, keep adding water and letting the plant sucking it out. The surplus water can then be emptied out of the saucer or removed by placing a towel, sponge, or turkey baster within the saucer to absorb it. Never leave columnar euphorbia submerged for longer than 12 hours.

Brown spots are the most typical problem with these columnar euphorbia. They may be corking if they are light brown and hard like a scab, which is the normal process of a plant aging. Consider corking as a tree’s smooth, green bark turning woody over time. Relax, this is very normal.

However, rot is present if the brown spots are deeper and mushy. The plant needs to have the rot surgically removed since it will spread and kill it. The more likely it is that you can rescue your plant, the earlier you catch rot. Three situations are possible here:

Dig down to healthy, vigorous tissue to treat a small area of rot, then let the plant repair by developing a scab.

You must remove the top, clear the rot from the top and bottom back to healthy, lively tissue, and then re-root the top if it has ringed the column halfway up. Replant the top in extremely fast-draining soil (half pumice or lava rock and half cactus mix) and set it in a warm, sunny location out of direct sunlight after allowing it to scab over for two to three weeks. If you have it, rooting hormone is also helpful for this. For re-rooting, cement or tile flooring work well because they carry heat to the plant; but, if you have a heat mat, you can use that as well. Set it to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In this case, the top of the plant will produce a new plant, and the bottom plant will continue to develop and produce new heads. (You would also propagate the plant in this manner, typically in the late spring when it is actively growing.)

If the column’s base begins to deteriorate and spiral around it, you should discard the bottom and propagate the top. You may recall that we mentioned the plant’s latex sap is poisonous. Use gloves and avoid getting sap in your eyes while doing this because it is a serious skin and eye irritant.

Other typical issues with euphorbia planted indoors typically result from the plants being grown in chilly environments with little sunlight. Summertime underwatering of plants causes problems, but even a small amount of wintertime overwatering can be disastrous. Another typical error is to not water until the soil is completely saturated.

Euphorbia leucodendron and Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ (also known as pencil cactus), two non-columnar euphorbias with lovely forking shapes that resemble aquatic flora almost as much as possible, may both be grown indoors. These require a lot of light to develop as houseplants and can even grow in bright, direct sunlight beside a window, just like the columnar euphorbia. (Not a good option for houses with pets due to the previously mentioned toxic sap!)

These incredible plants may, of course, also be cultivated outside in a temperate region like the Bay Area, even flourishing in the foggy streets of San Francisco. These euphorbia prefer a warm, protected location with plenty of sunlight and good drainage. They enjoy being next to radiant south- or west-facing walls or fences as well as slopes where water can drain off. Since they are summer growers, they will require more water during this dry period. However, if you want to fertilize, use an all-purpose fertilizer sprayed at 1/4 strength as they are typically not hungry. They frequently fail in clay soil, partial sunlight, or areas that receive an excessive amount of winter precipitation (in addition to our natural rainfall). Clay soil can benefit from mounding.

How is indoor euphorbia maintained?

Spurge typically needs full sun and well-drained soil. No one in the family is picky about the soil’s quality, however some can accept shadier surroundings. They may even survive in extremely poor soils and resist dry spells.

The upkeep of euphorbia plants is easy. Give them some light, a little moisture, and keep an eye out for pesky insects like whiteflies. To avoid powdery mildew, provide water underneath the plant’s leaves.

Spurge won’t require much fertilizing. Prior to feeding your plants with a water-soluble plant food, wait until the bottom leaves become yellow.

When the plant becomes out of control, prune. These plants are virtually unkillable and an excellent option for beginning gardeners. Growing Euphorbia to give to a friend is another excellent hobby for a novice.

Euphorbias can they be grown in pots?

With a bigger selection available by mail order from specialized plant nurseries, euphorbias are commonly available in garden centers, nurseries, and online retailers.

In the spring or as larger plants in bloom in the summer and early fall, they are primarily sold as plants. The majority are in 1- or 2-liter pots, however smaller plants can occasionally be seen in 9-cm (31/2-in) pots.

Where to plant

For information on growing requirements and actual size to determine spacing, check the plant label as this varies widely depending on what you select to plant. The RHS Find a Plant website also has euphorbia pictures and descriptions.

When to plant

In the majority of the UK, spring is the ideal time to plant since the moist soil and warmer temperatures promote rapid plant establishment. This is particularly true of the blue and silvery leafed varieties, which struggle to survive the winter on damp soils and are therefore best avoided throughout the fall and winter months.

How to plant

Euphorbias can be planted like any other boundary perennial. This is a straightforward process that often involves digging a hole that is larger than the new plant’s root ball, planting it there, and then covering the hole with soil that has been amended with organic matter, like well-rotted garden compost or manure. The organic stuff is not necessary for plants that prefer arid climates, such E. myrsinites. All need to be well watered in and kept moist until they take root.

While the majority of euphorbia prefer to grow in the ground, some, like E. myrsinites, can thrive in containers. This is mostly because they want soil that is freely draining and it is relatively simple to mix up potting compost that precisely meets their needs. Add one part of grit to three parts of John Innes No. 3 compost.

Can Euphorbia milii be grown indoors?

Try the crown of thorns plant if you’re seeking for a plant that can survive in the circumstances found in most homes (Euphorbia milii). The plant is simple to grow because it thrives in dry indoor conditions and at average room temperatures. It also overlooks the odd missed feeding and watering without grumbling.

The first step in caring for a crown of thorns indoor plant is to situate it in the ideal spot. Ensure the plant has three to four hours of direct sunshine each day by placing it in a fairly sunny window.

Comfortable room temperatures range from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius). The plant can resist wintertime lows of 50 F (10 C) and summertime highs of 90 F (32 C).

Euphorbia Care:

Some plants need to be divided or propagated every two to three years, preferably in the early fall or spring, even if they have a short lifespan.

After flowering is complete, many benefit from being severely pruned, at least by one-third. This prevents any free-seeders from taking over and promotes the growth of new, fresh foliage.

Trimming euphorbia:

  • Early in the spring, remove any damaged stems to keep the plant neat and healthy.
  • As soon as the euphorbia blooms, trim the stems at the base.
  • Clip carefully, since new shoots may appear that you wish to preserve.

anything touches your skin because it is a potent irritant. Additionally harmful due to the sap, spurges should be avoided.

euphorbias and yard cats survive for years without trouble, but I don’t have kids or pets.


Check individual entries as perennial euphorbias have varying hardiness, especially in regards to their northern boundaries.

for the plants that are listed here. Some species only have root hardiness further north but are evergreen in southerly zones. Other varieties do well as annuals.

Exposure: Sun or Shade?

Although some euphorbias can take some partial shade, most euphorbias prefer the sun. those with dark purple or reddish coloring

If planted in full sun, the foliage’s coloration will be more dramatic. In fact, just a few species prefer at least dappled.

Others require part shade in the South’s blazing sunshine but can tolerate intense sun in the North, where they can thrive. One option that works well in shadow is Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae.


The ability of spurges to withstand drought is one of its greatest advantages, hence proper drainage is essential.

The “Chameleon” does like more wetness than other animals. Euphorbias are also not fussy about soil, and the majority can

tackle common and sandy circumstances. Fertile soils may promote those varieties that tend to run and spread.

Keeping things lean gives control since people tend to expand beyond their limitations. However, if you want your

Does euphorbia enjoy moisture?

Although they thrive in warm, dry environments, succulent euphorbias have a wide range of temperature needs. Although high summer temperatures and significant twilight variations are not problematic, different minimum winter temperatures are. Species from Arabia, Central and West Africa, and the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas generally require 12–14C in the winter. While species from North and South Africa may withstand temperatures as low as 10C if kept dry, those from Madagascar and East Africa require 10–12C. In reality, if temperatures rise significantly the following morning, certain South African plants may tolerate frost.

In general, plants benefit from airflow. Significant temperature differences between the day and the night are also advantageous since they promote winter relaxation when the cool fall nights begin. Temperature and air humidity are closely correlated. Euphorbias benefit from high humidity while temperatures are high and they are growing, but they require very low humidity when they are dormant in the winter and temperatures are lower.

Euphorbia—is it a succulent or a cactus?

The plant genus Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.) contains more than 2,000 species. Around 1,200 of them are succulents, some of which have odd shapes and broad, mushy leaves, while others remarkably resemble cactus and have spines. The genus’ plants are frequently referred to as spurge or euphorbia by growers.

With repeated additions and deletions of species and subgenera, Euphorbia is a somewhat ambiguous genus. The genus contains species that are annual, perennial, and biennial. There are species of herbaceous plants, woody shrubs, as well as deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. The presence of a milky white sap in the plants is the defining trait among the species.

Most of the euphorbia species utilized for landscaping or as indoor plants are succulents with interesting forms and foliage, but a handful are also prized for their blooms. The poinsettia is one of the most well-known euphorbia species that is not a succulent.

The majority of euphorbias flower in the spring or summer and hibernate over the winter. Most species should be planted in the spring, when the risk of frost has gone, however houseplants can usually be started at any time. The growth rates of the species range from slowly to rather swiftly.

Euphorbia is poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans in all forms. Each plant species has a different amount of toxicity.