Euphorbia Ammak – Everything You Need To Know & More

Euphorbia Ammak - Everything You Need To Know & More
Family Euphorbiaceae
GenusEuphorbia
SpeciesEuphorbiinae
Other NamesDesert cactus, African Candelabra
Sunlight Full sunlight, bright indirect light, partial sunlight
Temperature 16°C to 29°C (recommended)
Growth SeasonSpring/Summer
Climate Arid, semi-arid, Mediterranean, sub-tropics
PropagationEasily propagated from cuttings and divisions
HeightMature plants can reach 10m
Width1 – 2 feet (mature)
Water Minimum water use. 
OthersToxic to both pets and humans. Used as a statement succulent by landscapers. Evergreen

If you’ve watched a couple of Western movies, then you’ve probably seen the Euphorbia Ammak plant, even if you didn’t know it at the time. It is one of those plants that you typically associate with arid areas.

E.Ammak (or the African Candelabra) has an erect stem that ends in several “branches,” all pointing upwards – like arms stretched out to welcome the sun.

Native to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Euphorbia Ammak is a low-maintenance, hardy plant that can endure some of the harshest, driest conditions the desert has to offer.

As an evergreen succulent, you are sure to enjoy its beauty all year round.

DID YOU KNOW?

A more significant number of E.Ammak die from too much watering than from lack of care or neglect. This succulent re-defines the term ‘resilience.’

STEM

E.Ammak (or African Candelabra) is a tall, desert-oriented succulent that can grow up to a height of 8 to 10 meters.

Considering the sheer height it reaches, the E.Ammak needs a pretty strong stem to hold it firmly in place, minimizing the risk of it toppling over.

Luckily, the African Candelabra has a stout and erect variegated stem/trunk with a width of up to 1 foot (12cm).

euphorbia ammak stems
Euphorbia Ammak stems @Pinterest

BRANCHES

The African Candelabras stem gives way to thick, ribbed, fleshy branches growing at an upward tangent.

Each branch features 4-winged ribs and sport dark-brown, horn-shaped, 1cm spines.

These prickly spines run along the wavy edge of each rib.

Euphorbia Ammak features three primary color schemes:

  1. Glossy dark green
  2. Creamy yellow
  3. Pale light-green

The plant may feature one particular color scheme or take on an artistic blend of two or more colors, e.g., dark green branches with yellow-tinged ribs.

FLOWERS

During early summer, the plant produces green capsules that then blossom into flowers. These flowers are small (1cm) and range between pale white and green, and they are not of much significance when it comes to the beauty of the Euphorbia Ammak.

LEARN HOW TO GROW THE EUPHORBIA AMMAK

LIGHT

Supply the Euphorbia Ammak with full direct sunlight, and it will reward you by staying strong and healthy all year round.  If the area does not get sun throughout, then a little bit of shade will not harm your plant.

Should you choose to have the plant growing on your verandah, it can quickly adapt to some bright indirect light.

TEMPERATURE

The Euphorbia Ammak is a tough plant and enjoys temperatures that range between 16°C and 29°C.  This ranges from moderate temperatures to hot.

WATER

The Euphorbia Ammak is a desert plant and has developed a very efficient method of retaining water. Water the plant, the Euphorbia Ammak gulps up what it needs and then takes in, even more to store in its fleshy branches.

The reservoir store (stem and branches) release water to keep the plant thriving during drought situations. So, if you forget to water the plant for some time, no need to fret – it will self-sustain for a while.

Ideally, you should water the plant when you notice the soil drying up. This will happen a lot more frequently during the hot season and less during the cooler months.

Take a pinch of soil, and if it feels dry, you can water the plant. Remember, too much water leads to root rot and the potential end of your plant.

SOIL

Good drainage is the primary concern when looking for the ideal soil type for the Euphorbia Ammak plant. This plant can be pretty lenient and isn’t fussy about the pH of the soil. All the Euphorbia Ammak requires is that the ground receives adequate aeration wet and has reliable drainage properties.

Learn how to DIY your planting soil at home: How To Make Your Succulent Soil At Home.

PROPAGATION

Euphorbia Ammak has three propagation methods: seeds, cuttings, and vegetative. If you enjoy a good challenge, you can try the seed method, which takes a long time and is not always successful. Even when the plant is growing wild, the seeds very rarely germinate.

The Euphorbia Ammak is a top-heavy plant – the branches at the top are sometimes so heavy for the stem/trunk forcing the top to break off. If it falls on healthy soil, it will settle and grow into a plant.

PROPAGATION BY CUTTING

Cuttings are another sure way of propagating the Euphorbia Ammak. Of the three methods, this is the most reliable. Care, however, must be taken when using this method. The period between late Spring and mid-Summer is the best for this as it gives the plant enough time to heal itself before going dormant for the fall and winter.

Before you embark on getting the cuttings, make sure you have a pair of gardening gloves and some eye protection. That way, you do not risk being poked by the spines or even coming into contact with the poisonous sap produced by the plant when you cut into it.

Measure 6 inches below where the arms are growing and using a long, sharp knife, cut across the stem/trunk, making a clean cut. To prevent the exposed parts of the plant from a bacterial or viral infection, spray them with weak hydrogen peroxide and water solution.

The main plant should be kept in a cool place away from direct sun until scabbed over the cut part. This may involve placing a loose cover over if you can’t move the plant. When the scab forms, you can put it back in its natural habitat.

Rinse the cutting with cold water and put aside to also scab, after which you can safely plant it on the mound of soil you had prepared. If you find the cutting too weak to support itself, tie it to a stake until it roots. Rooting takes a period ranging from a few weeks to several months.

euphorbia ammak with other succulents
Euphoria Ammak with other succulents @Pinterest

FERTILIZATION

It is not necessary to fertilize the Euphorbia Ammak. If you want to do so as a precaution, you can fertilize the plant every two weeks. The best time to fertilize your plant is during the growing period, and a dilute liquid solution is adequate.

REPOTTING

Classified as a fast grower, the Euphorbia Ammak may be a little challenging to know when to report. A few indicators that the plant will give you when it needs a more prominent place to grow:

  • not staying upright
  • slow growth
  • roots growing above the soil
  • withered parts along the trunk even though the plant has enough water

For best results, choose a planter that is 2 inches bigger than the original pot. Because of the top-heavy aspect of the plant, select a farmer that has a broad base for greater support. Your plant should be good for another three years. It’s important to remember that a too big pot can cause the plant to undergo stress!

Check out the Succulent City Facebook Page to share tips, tricks, and inspiration from fellow succulent lovers from across the globe!

euphorbia ammak in a pot
Euphorbia Ammak in a pot @Pinterest

PESTS & DISEASES

The harsh conditions of the plant’s natural environment have made the Euphorbia Ammak a highly resistant plant to many common pests and diseases. The three primary conditions to look out for are:

  • sunburn, which presents itself as rough scabs or brown patches. They are permanent but will not affect the growth of the plant.
  • Root rot or over-watering, which shows up as soft mushy brown areas. To save the plant, cut off as much of the rotten, mushy bottom as you need, then replant the healthy part of the plant.
  • Mildew appears as a white powder on the plant’s surface. You can quickly eliminate mold using a diluted isopropyl alcohol solution. To avoid reoccurrence, refrain from spraying the plant with water.

EUPHORBIA AMMAK AND TOXICITY

As mentioned earlier, the sap in this plant is poisonous, and you should avoid contact with the skin at all costs. The fluid can cause a painful rash when it comes into contact with the skin, so we highly recommend wearing thick gloves and protective eye gear when working with this plant. Because of its toxic quality, you should keep the Euphorbia Ammak plant out of the reach of children and pets.

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