Euphorbia Lactea (Mottled Spurge)

Euphorbia Lactea Image

Euphorbia Lactea, also known as “Dragon Bone Tree,” is a succulent plant native to the warm, tropical regions of the Asian continent, mainly India and Sri Lanka. It also occurs in Florida and other tropical areas of the world. Thanks to its ornamental value and easy cultivation, it has been introduced worldwide. It can create dense bushes when left to grow in the wild. The “Dragon Bone Tree” plant is a bright, highly branched, 3-sided, succulent, and markedly ringed plant with a very whitish and green ornamental marbling. Something important to note is that all parts of the Milky Euphorbia are considered poisonous, especially the milky sap it expels when injured.

As it grows, the “Dragon Bone Tree” becomes a tall, dark green, highly branched, and thorny shrub with a distinctive silhouette that grows up to 12 feet tall or more. This is a height that it only reaches in the wild, it very rarely does it while in home cultivation. Its stems are upright, about 2 inches in diameter, and constricted into oblong green segments. These segments’ center is conspicuously pale, often with marked marbled white and lime green ornamental color.

This plant has few leaves, developing only the slightest sign of leaves at the growth tips in summer. These are rudimentary, circular, reddish, and deciduous. It is also covered by tiny but sharp paired spines, widely divergent along the margins. It is a plant with prolonged growth. Because it develops better in warm climates and temperatures, its active growth is during the last months of spring and summer.

There are various types of Dragon bone trees as follows.

  1. Euphorbia Lacteal Cristata
  2. Variegated Euphorbia lactea
  3. Euphorbia Lactea White Ghost

Euphorbia Lactea Care


In itself, the care of the “Dragon bone tree” makes it an easy-to-maintain plant. We have to place it in a sunny position to grow properly, but it must be protected from frost as ice quickly damages the stems. If we live in an area where winters are cold, we must keep it in a very bright room and away from drafts.

The “Dragon bone tree”, being a plant from tropical climates, is not resistant to low temperatures, being tolerant only up to 42 ° F. On the other hand, it grows exceptionally in humid and warm climates. It is a plant that can be grown in a pot. In fact, it is the most recommended thanks to its growth. However, it is also possible to grow it in direct soil in the garden.

The necessary sun exposure required by the “Dragon Bone Tree” means that we can keep it in full sun or semi-shade. Due to its variegated shape, it should be protected from the intense direct sun during the hottest hours of the day, especially in the summer times.


We must provide the watering to our “Dragon bones tree” which must be relatively constant. On the other hand, we must let the substrate be completely dry before watering again. We should water it about three times a week during the hot summer seasons, especially during its times of active growth. In winter, it might be better not to water them practically at all. We must entirely suspend watering or, failing that, restrict it to just one time during winter. The proper substrate for growing the “Dragon Bone Tree” should be a mixture of equal parts, clay, and sand. It should be ideally porous and well-drained.

To fertilize the “Dragon bone tree”, we can use a liquid fertilizer diluted in the irrigation water approximately every 15 days. If we use organic fertilizer, the amount will depend on the format we select. This process should be carried out during the growing months of the Euphorbia Lactea. We should even give it a less strong dose during the beginning of autumn. When the “Dragon Bone Tree” is grown in greenhouses, it is rarely affected by fungal diseases. However, its low resistance to water stagnations makes its roots easy to rot if not properly cared for.

Repotting, Pruning & Propagation

We must bear in mind that the “Dragon bone tree” is a plant that can reach large sizes, we must change it to a larger pot every two years or less. You should carry out this activity during the spring when we can also take advantage of and prune our plants. We must also avoid pruning too much for a short time not to affect our plant’s growth. We can also extract cuttings from the main stem. After allowing these to dry, we can plant them in a new pot to multiply our Euphorbia Lactea.

Reproducing the “Dragon Bone Tree” is relatively straightforward. It is propagated by cuttings, while the variegated and crested forms are difficult to grow on their roots, and they are usually grafted. We recommend taking the cuttings during spring or summer. That’s when the plant is growing to have a better chance of success. The key to its success is heat and good air circulation.

We can keep the cuttings inside powdered hormones to ensure that they will succeed in rooting. To be fair, it is not a fundamental step when reproducing this plant. If we decide to do this, we must leave them within the hormones for a minimum of three weeks. After this time, it will be ready to plant in a pot and water. It is essential that it not be watered abundantly (keep slightly humid) until the cutting is well-rooted. These will root very well if we place the pot outside during the summer.


The best soil for euphorbia láctea should be mildly acidic or mildly alkaline. Its ideal pH ranges from 6.1 to 7.8. Euphorbia is a desert plant that grows in conditions similar to cacti. The soil should be well-draining, and it doesn’t have to be very fertile. When planting it, therefore, make sure you buy a cactus mix. You can enhance the pottage’s drainage by adding some pumice to it. If you are planting it outside, ensure the soil is a good mix of sandy and loamy. Gravel may be suitable for these plants because they enhance the soil’s drainage and keep off too much soil fertility.

Pests and Diseases

One of the main advantages of parenting euphorbias is that they are generally beautiful, and you will have fewer pests and diseases to worry about when growing them. Root rot is the most common disease, and it is easy to avoid by planting on well-draining soil and watering cautiously. Also, it can be affected by cork disease if you expose its leaves and stem to too much humidity. The humidity makes it easy for fungus to grow on the plant, and it is the fungus that causes cork disease.

The pests affecting this plant are much fewer than what affect many other plants. Many Euphorbias are toxic and, therefore, deer resistant. You are left to contend with more minor pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and plant scale. Like every other menace, prevention is the easiest way to deal with the pest.

You can keep the pests off your plant by feeding it well. Healthy plants are usually able to repel attacks from pests. Pruning your Euphorbia is another way of keeping the pests at bay. Dead leaves are a favorite hideout for pests. Removing the leaves makes it harder for the pests to find a base to launch their attack.

Keeping the plant dry is another way of keeping pests at bay because humidity makes them more vulnerable to these pests. You can use systemic pesticides like neem oil to make the plant unpalatable to these pests and, by so doing, keep the pests from attacking your succulents.

If your succulents have been attacked, remove the infected plant. Please keep it away from the rest of the plants from cross-infection.


You can cure the infected plant using organic pesticides such as hot pepper, garlic, spray, and biological controls such as introducing predators that eat the pests. Other simple ways of getting rid of these pests include rubbing the infected areas with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol. The alcohol should have at least 70% concentration. Spraying the infested plant with a mixture of water and liquid soap or pesticide soap also helps.



When handling this plant, whether in pruning or transplanting, a strong warning is that, as with all other Euphorbias varieties, it secretes a thick white milky liquid when a plant receives damage. This is a sage better known as latex. Latex of this type is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, the skin, and the mucous membranes. It is extremely irritating and painful for the mucosa’s tissues. Latex is capable of causing quite painful inflammation. It can even cause temporary blindness if it touches the eyes.

We must take special precautions with this plant when keeping it at home with young children or in any handling process where it secretes said latex. It is recommended to work in ventilated places since even the vapors it exudes can be dangerous, and to use gloves every time we handle our “Dragon bone tree.”

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Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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