How To Grow Euphorbia From Cuttings

Euphorbias, also referred to as spurge, are perennial plants that are simple to grow. They might be landscape plants or indoor houseplants. The euphorbia genus includes small annual plants and enormous, long-lived trees. One of the largest genera of flowering plants, the genus has approximately 2,000 species. The Americas, Madagascar, and Africa are where the majority of the succulent species are found.

Seed Propagation

Although they may be grown from seed, euphorbias can be challenging to germinate. In equal parts coarse sand and commercial seed growing mix, sow seeds in the spring. Germination takes 2 to 6 months in cold weather, but can take place in 1 to 2 weeks in warm weather.

Stem Cuttings

For many species of euphorbias, cutting-based propagation is the simplest and fastest approach. It can also be used to trim an old plant back into shape. Use a clean, sharp knife to make the cuttings. If at all possible, branching species should be clipped at the branching point. Decapitate solitary plants like Euphorbia bupleurifolia or Euphorbia piscidermis to promote the growth of side shoots that may then be pulled off and planted.

Spring, when growth begins, is the ideal season to collect cuttings, but summer is also a good period. Cuttings should only be used in an emergency to save plants with root rot since they have little chance to take root when taken in the fall or winter.

After cutting, the latex must be entirely removed in a glass of water or by spritzing. Quickly following the flow, cold water and a brief contact with a candle or match ignite.

Large-leaved Euphorbias should have the leaves chopped off with a knife directly above the cut. Before planting, the cut surface should be allowed to dry for one or better, several days, for species without leaves. Leafy Madagascan plants just require a little period of drying. Root formation will be aided by applying a hormone rooting powder to the sliced surface. The same planting media used for seeding can be used.

Rooting may take longer than anticipated, but it can be hastened by employing a thermostat-controlled warming pad to raise the soil temperature to about 77 F (25 C). Avoid being in the sun directly. Unrooted cuttings that have dried up can occasionally be salvaged by soaking in water that is at room temperature until they swell back up and can be planted again.

Some euphorbias with side shoots that can be rooted grow as branches and do not take the conventional plant form. This group includes the Medusoid Euphorbias in addition to Euphorbia brevitorta, Euphorbia groenewaldii, Euphorbia tortirama, and other species. These demand for the so-called two-step cutting technique.

Leaf Cuttings

Euphorbia francoisii, Euphorbia cylindrifolia, Euphorbia pachypodioides, Euphorbia ankarensis, and Euphorbia millotii are a few of the Madagascan Euphorbias that have been successfully propagated from leaf cuttings. Rock wool cubes are set on coarse sand in a tray, and leaves are gently removed off the plants—not cut—and placed inside of them. The sand should have water covering its surface (putting the leaves directly into damp sand also works, although with greater losses). Fungicide and hormone rooting powder help the process. The desired outcome should be achieved using both light heat and a chilly position with a plastic cover to boost humidity. The plants are ready to be potted after 40 days because they are sufficiently matured.

Can euphorbia be rooted in water?

A succulent euphorbia called Euphorbia trigona is grown for its ornamental stems. If it is rooted in water, it will rot and should not be. Take a stem cutting of this plant in late spring or early summer to propagate it.

When taking cuttings, keep your skin and eyes protected because the sap might irritate some people’s skin or eyes or perhaps create an allergic response. The health of the parent plant and the cutting depends on stopping the flow of milky sap. Spray water onto the parent’s wound after dipping the cutting end in water. To prevent infection, allow the cutting to “heal” (dry out) for a few days. Create a container with a peat moss base that has been wet, add perlite for enhanced drainage, and then top it with a layer of horticultural sand or vermiculite to avoid rot. Place the cutting in the potting mixture and keep it at room temperature in filtered light.

For around two months, keep the potting material just slightly damp. By that time, the cutting will have developed roots and new growth. The plant can be replanted in a succulent potting mix and cared for as an adult euphorbia.

How long does it take for euphorbia to root?

When the right conditions are present, the majority of the evergreen euphorbia species will self-sow. Young seedlings can be pulled off the plant. Like other perennials, the non-evergreen varieties can be divided in the early spring or the early fall. These procedures can also be used to successfully develop evergreen and woody species from cuttings.


Portion Euphrobia that have a permanent framework of branches will require deadheading after flowering, or if the entire stem that was flowering starts to die back, you can clip out some of the branches at the base. A good dome of brief, unflowered stems or shoots will remain, and they’ll bloom the next year. E. characias subsp. wulfenii and E. myrsinites are two examples.

E. amygdaloides var. robbiae is an evergreen groundcover that can be deadheaded in the summer to tidy up clumps by shearing off spent flower stems.


Mulching borders is a great strategy to prevent weed growth and water evaporation. For typical garden growing conditions, this could be done with organic materials; however, if growing the silvery and grey species in a Mediterranean planting scheme, this might be done with gravel.

See our section on Deadheading in Ongoing Care above for more information on how pruning is typically done. Herbaceous plants, however, will die back throughout the winter, so you can tidy up the plant by removing any old, brown, or dead-looking stems.

These are multiplied through division. As you’ll do this right after flowering, it will happen in late spring for the earliest blossoming. The optimum time to divide anything that blooms later in the summer is in the spring when plants are just starting to grow.

Softwood cuttings are used to reproduce these shrubby-appearing euphorbias, especially the ones that grow stems one year and bloom the following year. In the early spring, use the young, short shoots at the base. E. characias and its relatives, E. myrsinites, and E. mellifera are excellent choices.

Although cultivars cannot be grown from seed and the seedlings will have somewhat different behaviors and colors, species can be grown from seed. When capsules become brown, gather the seed.

Should Euphorbia be reduced in size?

Euphorbias are a lovely addition to any garden since they add color in the spring and summer and have attractively shaped foliage. They also have vivid, colorful bracts.

Some evergreen euphorbias just require their faded blooms to be trimmed back once they have finished flowering. Others have biennial stems that must be trimmed to the ground after flowering, like several Euphorbia charcacia kinds. Fall is the time to trim down deciduous plants to the ground.

Wear gloves when handling euphorbias because they all have a thick, milky sap that can irritate the skin and eyes.

How is Euphorbia Mammillaris propagated?

The thorny bushlands of South Africa are the natural habitat of Euphorbia mammillaris. Near the plant’s base, it develops a stout main stem with tiny, club-like lateral branches. The plant’s variegated variety, which has white and green flecks throughout, is more vulnerable to bright sunlight than its all-green relative.

  • ‘White Rockets’ need a lot of light, ideally at least five hours in direct sunlight. These plants can be grown indoors in a window that faces south.
  • Because variegated types are more susceptible to sunburn than other varieties, if you’re growing this plant outside, place it in a spot with some light shade to shield it from the midday sun.
  • Above 70 oF, Euphorbia mammillaris will flourish in high temperatures. Up to 35 oF, they can tolerate the cold.
  • These semi-arid plants favor dry settings, yet they can also thrive in environments with some humidity if they want.
  • Euphorbias favor arid environments. To water effectively, completely soak the soil and let it air dry in between applications.
  • Water your plants regularly in the spring and summer, and less frequently in the fall and winter.
  • The soil needs to be grittier and drain properly for these succulent plants. The best soil to use is one for cacti or succulents. To increase grit and drainage, soil combinations can be supplemented with sand or fine pumice up to 50%.
  • ‘White Rockets’ normally bloom in the early spring through the first part of the summer. Cyathia are little, yellow flowers that grow at the ends of stems.
  • Although fertilization can be administered to give plants a boost throughout the growing season or to restore depleted soil, these plants normally do not need it.
  • Only during the growing season, use a balanced fertilizer once a month, diluted to half its intensity. During the fall and winter, stop using fertilizer.
  • These plants can be easily multiplied from stems that branch off at offsets. Use cutting shears to separate offsets. Before planting cuttings in soil, give them a few days to callus. After the roots begin to form, keep the soil relatively dry before watering normally.
  • Although euphorbias typically withstand pests and diseases, there are still a few things to watch out for. Pests that are most frequently seen are mealybugs and spider mites. Use diluted neem oil or a pesticide to treat the afflicted plants.
  • Other issues to be on the lookout for include root rot and powdery mildew, which typically result from overwatering or inadequate air circulation, respectively. When growing a plant, always err on the side of underwatering and place it where it will get enough of ventilation.
  • These plants need very little to no upkeep. Euphorbias prefer to be root-bound and have fine, shallow roots. One repotting should be performed every two to three years at most. Put potted plants into a container that is 2 inches wider than usual to give them room to expand.
  • Every Euphorbia plant has a poisonous sap that is highly irritating to the skin and extremely toxic if consumed. Keep children and pets out of reach. When handling this plant, use gloves and exercise extreme caution.

How is a Euphorbia cactus cutting rooted?

Use safety gloves before propagating Euphorbia trigona to avoid any allergic reactions to the milky sap. When you cut a Euphorbia plant, it will flow a sticky, white sap that shouldn’t get in your eyes, cuts, or sensitive skin. This is true of practically all Euphorbias.

When temperatures are between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, grow this deciduous succulent in the spring or summer for the greatest results. Trim off a stem end that is 5-7 inches long and in good health. Use a clean razor blade or a well-knifed, sterilized object.

The hotter seasons of the year are when cuttings root best. Take the cutting and give it a few days to calluse over. Depending on the size of the cutting, bury it in perlite (available from nurseries) at a depth of 2-3 inches or more. To support the plant and weigh down the pot, add a layer of gritty rock. This will prevent the cutting from toppling. Overwatering virtually never happens with perlite (perlite has replaced sand in current potting mixes). Place in a dimly lit area, be warm, and have patience.

See our Plant Information Guides for advice on a number of gardening-related issues. – With permission from NYBG Plant Information Service