Euphorbia trigona Mill.
African Milk Tree, High Chaparall, Cathedral Cactus, Abyssinian Euphorbia
Euphorbia trigona is a succulent perennial, up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall, with an upright stem that is branched into 3 or 4 sides. The stem is dark green with V-shaped, light green patterns. The up to 0.2 inches (5 mm) long thorns are placed in pairs of 2 on the stem's ridges. The drop-shaped leaves grow from between the 2 thorns on each ridge. The flowers are white or a combination of white and light yellow. They appear in spring and summer, but the potted plants may not flower at all.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Euphorbias are very easy to care for. These plants require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. In fact, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect. Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerate wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don't let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly.
These succulents can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). They are usually propagated by cuttings. This can be tricky, because of the exuding sap. Rooting hormone is recommended with Euphorbias. They tend to grow problem-free, but there are a few pests and diseases to be alert for.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Euphorbia trigona is native to West Africa.
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.