African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &
African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona &

Introducing the stunning African milk tree, known as Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra', the perfect addition to any collection of EuphorbiasThe African milk tree is named after its white, milky sap, which is of African origin and is referred to as a "milk tree."

The African milk tree has many other common names, such as the Royal Red, the Abyssinian Euphorbia, and the High Chaparral. Though this euphorbia plant also goes by the names "candelabra cactus," "cathedral cactus," "friendship cactus," and "good luck cactus." This red Euphorbia milk tree is actually a succulent plant, despite looking a lot like a cactus.

The Rubra or Royal Red variety is well known for its vibrant Euphorbia cactus color, which develops late in the growing season.

African milk bush has a long lifespan and grows quickly, gaining 1 to 2 feet per year and reaching a height of 9 feet in just 3-5 years. When grown indoors, however, this African milk tree will only reach approximately half of its maximum height.

The African milk tree has branches that resemble three winged angles and are covered in leaves and short, prickly spines. Euphorbia rubra has a vibrant purple-red color on its stem and leaves, while Euphorbia trigona has a bronzish hue. Its red teardrop-shaped leaves last for one or two seasons and can be propagated for a more impressive hedge houseplant collection.

The flowers of the African Milk Tree are typically green or yellow in color and are surrounded by colorful bracts. It's actually quite rare for it to produce flowers indoors. In its natural habitat, however, this Euphorbia trigona rubra can produce small, inconspicuous flowers during the spring and summer months. 

Propagating the African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) by stem cuttings is a rewarding experience, just as it is for the Green African Milk Tree. Take a healthy stem, callouse it, and plant it in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil moist and in a warm, bright location away from direct sunlight. With proper care, the cutting will develop roots and grow into a new plant.

Additionally, the sap of the African milk tree is mildly toxic to both pets and humans and can cause blisters, severe eye irritation, and convulsions if swallowed. So, always keep Euphorbia trigona rubra away from pets and children.

Watering Needs

The African milk tree is a drought-tolerant succulent plant that is adapted to dry conditions. As such, the African milk tree plant is able to store water in its leaves and stems. When the soil is dry to the touch, it is an indication that your Euphorbia trigona rubra needs water. To water an African milk tree, it should be given moderate water so that the soil is moist throughout the pot but not so much that the soil is constantly wet.

In general, the Euphorbia trigona rubra African milk tree should be watered less frequently in the winter when it is dormant and more frequently in the summer when it is actively growing.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can kill your red African milk tree. It is important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent this.

Light Requirements

If growing indoors, the African Milk Tree thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a window where it can receive plenty of bright, filtered sunlight throughout the day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch its leaves. If you notice the stems stretching or the leaves losing their vibrant color, it might be an indication that your African milk tree is not receiving enough bright light. In such cases, you can supplement its light requirements with the help of artificial grow lights.

When growing outdoors, your Euphorbia trigona rubra prefers full sun to partial shade. The African milk tree can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much can cause the leaves to burn. In general, it should be placed in a location that receives bright but filtered light, such as near a window with a sheer curtain.

Remember, if you live in a region with a mild climate, you can consider placing your African milk tree plant in a partially shaded area outdoors. However, if you reside in a hot and arid region, it's best to provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day to prevent sunburn.

Additionally, if they don't receive enough light, their stems may grow leggy and become paler, and their spines will shorten. So, make your milk plant happy and give it plenty of bright sunlight. If your Euphorbia trigona rubra is not receiving enough light, the leaves may become pale or yellow, while too much light can cause the leaves to turn brown or black.

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

The African milk plant favors very airy, sandy soil that drains well. Planting them in ordinary soil will result in compacted roots, stunted growth, and, most likely, root rot. Instead, make or buy a well-draining soil, or ideally, use our specialized potting mix that contains over 5 natural substrates and mycorrhizae to promote the development of new growth and a strong root system that helps your healthy plant thrive.  The African milk tree grows best within a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. It's important to avoid using heavy clay soils or soils that retain too much moisture, as this can lead to root rot or other issues.

When it comes to fertilizing your healthy African milk tree Euphorbia trigona rubra, it only needs a small amount of fertilizer applied once a year in spring. The Euphorbia tree prefers fertilizer with lower doses of NPK, with a maximum ratio of 5-10-5 that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen. 

Hardiness Zones & More 

Native to Central Africa, this desert-dwelling African milk tree plant can live for many years as an indoor plant in a dry, warm, or arid climate where temperatures do not fall below freezing. If you are growing your Euphorbia trigona rubra indoors, they prefer constant temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate triple digits in the summer, so don't worry if your cactus gets too hot. In the United States, that usually means they're indoor plants or grown in a greenhouse in areas with colder climates, at least for part of the year.

If you are living in USDA zones 9–11, you can grow your Euphorbia trigona rubra outdoors year-round. Remember, these perennial succulents cannot handle frost or cold temperatures, but African milk trees are not truly hardy plants, and prolonged exposure will almost certainly cause some damage. So, make sure they don't get below 45 F in their environment. 

Remember, this Euphorbia spurge doesn't require additional humidity, so growing it in a humid location could stress it out and lead to fungus growth or pest infestation.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) is a stunning and captivating succulent that will surely steal the show in any plant collection. With its vibrant red stems and unique branching pattern, it adds a touch of exotic beauty to any space. When it comes to African milk tree care, it prefers bright, indirect light and well-draining soil, and it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Just be cautious of its milky sap, as it can be irritating to the skin and eyes.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to add something truly exceptional to your garden. Order your very own Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra'—the African milk tree—today!

Bloom Season Spring, summer
Botanical Name Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra'
Common Name African milk tree, Royal Red, Abyssinian euphorbia, Cathedral cactus, Friendship cactus, Good luck cactus
Dormancy Winter
Family Euphorbiaceae
Flower Color Red, white
Genus Euphorbia
Growth Habit Candelabra
Growth Rate Fast
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 9 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide
Native Area Africa
Plant Type Succulent, shrub
Propagation By cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, deer resistant, pest resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type Succulents potting mix soil
Special Features Easy to maintain, easy to grow
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Toxicity Toxic for humans, toxic for pets(Keeps away from Children)
Watering Needs Moderate

Pests & Common Problems of the African Milk Tree

The African milk tree is generally a hardy plant but it can be susceptible to a few pests and problems. Some common issues include: 

Mealybugs: These small, white insects can infest the plant's growth and feed on its sap. They can be controlled by wiping the leaves and stem with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. 

Spider mites: These tiny pests can cause yellowing leaves and webbing on the plant.  Spraying the Euphorbia plant with a solution of water and neem oil will help you get rid of them.  

Root rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot in your drought-tolerant plant, which can cause the root ball of the plant to wilt and die. In order to avoid this, it's crucial to use well-draining soil and to let the soil partially dry out in between waterings. 

Leaf drop: The plant may drop leaves if it is not receiving enough light or if the soil is dry, or if it is overwatered. Adjusting the plant's growing conditions can help prevent this. 

Toxic sap: The sap of the plant can be toxic and irritating to the skin, so it's important to wear gloves when handling it and to keep it away from pets and children. 

FAQs - African Milk Tree Plant

Can African milk trees grow indoors? 

Yes, the African milk tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) is a popular houseplant and can be grown indoors. The succulent plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil, and it should be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering the plant can cause root rot and other issues with the shallow root system.  

The plant can also benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season in the spring. When grown indoors, the plant may not grow as large as it would outdoors, but it can still be an attractive and interesting addition to your home. 

What is the African milk tree used for? 

The African milk tree is primarily grown as an ornamental plant due to its unique appearance and interesting growth habits. It is grown in Tropical Africa as a hedge and as a ritual plant. The beautiful plant is also known for its milky sap, which is toxic and can cause skin irritation.  

The sap has been used in traditional medicine and as a source of latex for rubber production. However, it is important to note that the sap is highly toxic and should not be ingested or applied to the skin. The plant is also used in landscaping and as a decorative plant in public spaces such as hotels and offices. 

Do African milk trees like the full sun? 

The African milk tree can tolerate full sun, but it prefers bright, indirect sunlight and can be sensitive to intense heat and direct sunlight. In its native habitat, the plant grows in partial shade or dappled sunlight, and it can be grown successfully in similar conditions indoors.  

While the plant can tolerate full sun, it may be more prone to sunburn and other problems in such conditions. If you want to grow the plant outdoors in full sun, it's important to acclimate it gradually to prevent sunburn and other problems. 

Why is the Euphorbia trigona called an African milk tree? 

Euphorbia trigona rubra is commonly known as the African Milk Tree due to the milky sap and its origin (Africa) that it produces when the stem or leaves are cut or damaged. The sap is latex that contains a toxic compound and can cause skin irritation, so it is important to handle the plant with care.  

The name "milk tree" refers to the appearance of the sap, which is white and milky in color. 

How big does Euphorbia trigona rubra get? 

African milk bush has a long lifespan and grows quickly, gaining 1 to 2 feet per year and reaching a height of 9 feet in just 3-5 years. When grown indoors, however, this milk tree will only reach approximately half of its maximum height.  

However, the growth rate and ultimate size of the plant can vary depending on a number of factors, including the amount of light, water, and nutrients as well as the size of the container plant.

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African Milk Tree - Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra'

sku: 369

15 reviews
Regular price$ 13.89
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Size

Please note: All Landscape Ready plants that are in a 6-inch pot or larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

  • In stock, ready to ship
  • Inventory on the way

Please note: Our large plants are many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive 100% healthy and looking great.

Please note: Our large plants are shipped bare root. They are also many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive healthy and looking great.

sku:
Detailed description of this plant is below...

If you live in a cold climate and are expecting temperatures below 40 degrees within the next five days after placing your order, we highly recommend adding a heat pack to your order. If you do not order a heat pack, we do not send one with your order.

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**FREE HEAT PACK WITH ORDERS OVER $50 before taxes and shipping- BY REQUEST ONLY, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE ON YOUR ORDER.

To prevent plants from freezing while in transit, orders placed for areas with extreme severe freezing temperatures will be held for shipment until it is safe to ship.

Plants that are in 3.5" pots and smaller will be shipped in its pot to prevent any damage to the roots. Any plant that is 6" and larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

Depending on the species and season, you will receive a very similar plant to the one in the picture. It may or may not be blooming at the time of your purchase.

We ship via USPS Priority Mail, and we calculate the shipping cost based on the weight and volume of your purchase. Care instructions are included in every package you order. Please allow us up to 3 business days to process your order. Depending on your location, we will ship the plants on a certain day to avoid transit time during weekends or holidays. If you wish to receive your order on a specific date, or have special instructions, please add a note on your order. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at any time.

  • Description
  • Key Plant Features

Introducing the stunning African milk tree, known as Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra', the perfect addition to any collection of EuphorbiasThe African milk tree is named after its white, milky sap, which is of African origin and is referred to as a "milk tree."

The African milk tree has many other common names, such as the Royal Red, the Abyssinian Euphorbia, and the High Chaparral. Though this euphorbia plant also goes by the names "candelabra cactus," "cathedral cactus," "friendship cactus," and "good luck cactus." This red Euphorbia milk tree is actually a succulent plant, despite looking a lot like a cactus.

The Rubra or Royal Red variety is well known for its vibrant Euphorbia cactus color, which develops late in the growing season.

African milk bush has a long lifespan and grows quickly, gaining 1 to 2 feet per year and reaching a height of 9 feet in just 3-5 years. When grown indoors, however, this African milk tree will only reach approximately half of its maximum height.

The African milk tree has branches that resemble three winged angles and are covered in leaves and short, prickly spines. Euphorbia rubra has a vibrant purple-red color on its stem and leaves, while Euphorbia trigona has a bronzish hue. Its red teardrop-shaped leaves last for one or two seasons and can be propagated for a more impressive hedge houseplant collection.

The flowers of the African Milk Tree are typically green or yellow in color and are surrounded by colorful bracts. It's actually quite rare for it to produce flowers indoors. In its natural habitat, however, this Euphorbia trigona rubra can produce small, inconspicuous flowers during the spring and summer months. 

Propagating the African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) by stem cuttings is a rewarding experience, just as it is for the Green African Milk Tree. Take a healthy stem, callouse it, and plant it in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil moist and in a warm, bright location away from direct sunlight. With proper care, the cutting will develop roots and grow into a new plant.

Additionally, the sap of the African milk tree is mildly toxic to both pets and humans and can cause blisters, severe eye irritation, and convulsions if swallowed. So, always keep Euphorbia trigona rubra away from pets and children.

Watering Needs

The African milk tree is a drought-tolerant succulent plant that is adapted to dry conditions. As such, the African milk tree plant is able to store water in its leaves and stems. When the soil is dry to the touch, it is an indication that your Euphorbia trigona rubra needs water. To water an African milk tree, it should be given moderate water so that the soil is moist throughout the pot but not so much that the soil is constantly wet.

In general, the Euphorbia trigona rubra African milk tree should be watered less frequently in the winter when it is dormant and more frequently in the summer when it is actively growing.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can kill your red African milk tree. It is important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent this.

Light Requirements

If growing indoors, the African Milk Tree thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near a window where it can receive plenty of bright, filtered sunlight throughout the day. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch its leaves. If you notice the stems stretching or the leaves losing their vibrant color, it might be an indication that your African milk tree is not receiving enough bright light. In such cases, you can supplement its light requirements with the help of artificial grow lights.

When growing outdoors, your Euphorbia trigona rubra prefers full sun to partial shade. The African milk tree can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much can cause the leaves to burn. In general, it should be placed in a location that receives bright but filtered light, such as near a window with a sheer curtain.

Remember, if you live in a region with a mild climate, you can consider placing your African milk tree plant in a partially shaded area outdoors. However, if you reside in a hot and arid region, it's best to provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day to prevent sunburn.

Additionally, if they don't receive enough light, their stems may grow leggy and become paler, and their spines will shorten. So, make your milk plant happy and give it plenty of bright sunlight. If your Euphorbia trigona rubra is not receiving enough light, the leaves may become pale or yellow, while too much light can cause the leaves to turn brown or black.

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

The African milk plant favors very airy, sandy soil that drains well. Planting them in ordinary soil will result in compacted roots, stunted growth, and, most likely, root rot. Instead, make or buy a well-draining soil, or ideally, use our specialized potting mix that contains over 5 natural substrates and mycorrhizae to promote the development of new growth and a strong root system that helps your healthy plant thrive.  The African milk tree grows best within a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. It's important to avoid using heavy clay soils or soils that retain too much moisture, as this can lead to root rot or other issues.

When it comes to fertilizing your healthy African milk tree Euphorbia trigona rubra, it only needs a small amount of fertilizer applied once a year in spring. The Euphorbia tree prefers fertilizer with lower doses of NPK, with a maximum ratio of 5-10-5 that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen. 

Hardiness Zones & More 

Native to Central Africa, this desert-dwelling African milk tree plant can live for many years as an indoor plant in a dry, warm, or arid climate where temperatures do not fall below freezing. If you are growing your Euphorbia trigona rubra indoors, they prefer constant temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate triple digits in the summer, so don't worry if your cactus gets too hot. In the United States, that usually means they're indoor plants or grown in a greenhouse in areas with colder climates, at least for part of the year.

If you are living in USDA zones 9–11, you can grow your Euphorbia trigona rubra outdoors year-round. Remember, these perennial succulents cannot handle frost or cold temperatures, but African milk trees are not truly hardy plants, and prolonged exposure will almost certainly cause some damage. So, make sure they don't get below 45 F in their environment. 

Remember, this Euphorbia spurge doesn't require additional humidity, so growing it in a humid location could stress it out and lead to fungus growth or pest infestation.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) is a stunning and captivating succulent that will surely steal the show in any plant collection. With its vibrant red stems and unique branching pattern, it adds a touch of exotic beauty to any space. When it comes to African milk tree care, it prefers bright, indirect light and well-draining soil, and it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Just be cautious of its milky sap, as it can be irritating to the skin and eyes.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to add something truly exceptional to your garden. Order your very own Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra'—the African milk tree—today!

Bloom Season Spring, summer
Botanical Name Euphorbia trigona 'Rubra'
Common Name African milk tree, Royal Red, Abyssinian euphorbia, Cathedral cactus, Friendship cactus, Good luck cactus
Dormancy Winter
Family Euphorbiaceae
Flower Color Red, white
Genus Euphorbia
Growth Habit Candelabra
Growth Rate Fast
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 9 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide
Native Area Africa
Plant Type Succulent, shrub
Propagation By cuttings
Resistance Drought tolerant, deer resistant, pest resistant
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type Succulents potting mix soil
Special Features Easy to maintain, easy to grow
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Toxicity Toxic for humans, toxic for pets(Keeps away from Children)
Watering Needs Moderate

Pests & Common Problems of the African Milk Tree

The African milk tree is generally a hardy plant but it can be susceptible to a few pests and problems. Some common issues include: 

Mealybugs: These small, white insects can infest the plant's growth and feed on its sap. They can be controlled by wiping the leaves and stem with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. 

Spider mites: These tiny pests can cause yellowing leaves and webbing on the plant.  Spraying the Euphorbia plant with a solution of water and neem oil will help you get rid of them.  

Root rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot in your drought-tolerant plant, which can cause the root ball of the plant to wilt and die. In order to avoid this, it's crucial to use well-draining soil and to let the soil partially dry out in between waterings. 

Leaf drop: The plant may drop leaves if it is not receiving enough light or if the soil is dry, or if it is overwatered. Adjusting the plant's growing conditions can help prevent this. 

Toxic sap: The sap of the plant can be toxic and irritating to the skin, so it's important to wear gloves when handling it and to keep it away from pets and children. 

FAQs - African Milk Tree Plant

Can African milk trees grow indoors? 

Yes, the African milk tree (Euphorbia trigona rubra) is a popular houseplant and can be grown indoors. The succulent plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil, and it should be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering the plant can cause root rot and other issues with the shallow root system.  

The plant can also benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season in the spring. When grown indoors, the plant may not grow as large as it would outdoors, but it can still be an attractive and interesting addition to your home. 

What is the African milk tree used for? 

The African milk tree is primarily grown as an ornamental plant due to its unique appearance and interesting growth habits. It is grown in Tropical Africa as a hedge and as a ritual plant. The beautiful plant is also known for its milky sap, which is toxic and can cause skin irritation.  

The sap has been used in traditional medicine and as a source of latex for rubber production. However, it is important to note that the sap is highly toxic and should not be ingested or applied to the skin. The plant is also used in landscaping and as a decorative plant in public spaces such as hotels and offices. 

Do African milk trees like the full sun? 

The African milk tree can tolerate full sun, but it prefers bright, indirect sunlight and can be sensitive to intense heat and direct sunlight. In its native habitat, the plant grows in partial shade or dappled sunlight, and it can be grown successfully in similar conditions indoors.  

While the plant can tolerate full sun, it may be more prone to sunburn and other problems in such conditions. If you want to grow the plant outdoors in full sun, it's important to acclimate it gradually to prevent sunburn and other problems. 

Why is the Euphorbia trigona called an African milk tree? 

Euphorbia trigona rubra is commonly known as the African Milk Tree due to the milky sap and its origin (Africa) that it produces when the stem or leaves are cut or damaged. The sap is latex that contains a toxic compound and can cause skin irritation, so it is important to handle the plant with care.  

The name "milk tree" refers to the appearance of the sap, which is white and milky in color. 

How big does Euphorbia trigona rubra get? 

African milk bush has a long lifespan and grows quickly, gaining 1 to 2 feet per year and reaching a height of 9 feet in just 3-5 years. When grown indoors, however, this milk tree will only reach approximately half of its maximum height.  

However, the growth rate and ultimate size of the plant can vary depending on a number of factors, including the amount of light, water, and nutrients as well as the size of the container plant.

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