Euphorbia Leucodendron – The Cat Tails Euphorbia

As the name suggests, Euphorbia Leucodendron belongs to the extensive Euphorbiciae genus, thus displaying many of its attributes. Scientifically, this plant’s other name is Euphorbia Alluaudii, but colloquially, this plant is called as the cat tails Euphorbia. Common names include Stick Cactus, Milk Bush, Pencil Tree, Sausage Tree, Yellow-Leaf b=Bush Euphorbia, or Stick Tree. The Cat Tails euphorbia is a native of South West Madagascar in the areas around the central high plateau. We can find them in Androy, Andrahomana, and Tsimannada. The plant has, however, moved far beyond its origin. It now adorns many households and gardens worldwide as a decorative plant.

Physical Characteristics

This Euphorbia is dioecious in most instances. Being dioecious means that each plant has a specific sex-either male or female. Only a few members of this genus are monoecious. The most prominent characteristic of this plant is the clustered cylindrical, smooth branches. Its branches have no spines, which is quite uncharacteristic of euphorbias; spines on stems and branches are one of the common characteristics of the genus.


Like some of the other plants in this genus, the branches of Euphorbia Leucodendron proceed from the base and grow so that they may appear to be independent plants. The plants then arch outwards so that the tree occupies as much space horizontally as it does vertically; it can grow to four to six meters outdoors or in its natural habitat. However, when potted, it can constrain the stick tree’s growth to about 1.2 and 1.8 meters.


This plant blooms in spring and summer, producing tiny yellow flowers. These flowers are yellow, and they develop into red, heart-shaped fruits.


The stems grow at different positions, from being erect to being procumbent. The procumbent stems run along the ground. However, unlike typical runners, these branches don’t put down roots. Another characteristic of the limbs is that they are succulent, which is distinctive since euphorbia plants are succulents though they may be confused for cacti. The stems are pale green. The color green indicates the presence of chlorophyll on the branch, which is vital for photosynthesis as the plant’s leaf system is not always well developed. Also cylindrical, and they are joined with joints marked with brown marks. These brown marks show the position of the leaves before they fall off. The stem has copious amounts of sap that oozes when the branch is injured.


Euphorbia Leucodendron has tiny leaves that fall off soon after they sprout. The leaves are green, but they are not the primary medium for photosynthesis because they fall off fast.

This plant has several varieties, including drake, criatata, and enchilada. Some of these variants occur naturally, while others are cultivars. The care regimes for these plants are the same, although they have some morphological differences.

Care for Euphorbia Leucodendron

The following are some of the critical husbandry practices and considerations to help you make the best of this plant as you grow it.

Lighting and Placement

This plant is supremely light-hardy, and it is improbable that light would affect it negatively. However, it can survive in partial shade. If you want to grow the plant outdoors, you don’t need to worry about the sun’s intensity; it can handle it. Sufficient light is necessary for some of this plant’s processes, such as flowering, so keeping it in the dark isn’t good for its health.

Supposedly you grow Euphorbia Leucodendron in the house, the best place to position it is near the western or southern windows, allowing direct sunlight into the home. You should then keep the plant about one foot from the window to allow it to absorb the most sunlight possible. A room painted in bright colors is an added advantage because it reflects light ensuring your pant gets the most out of it.

Euphorbia Leucodendron’s active growth season is in spring and summer. This is when the plant needs the most light, and you should see it gets it. You could move a houseplant outdoors for four to six hours if it proved difficult for it to get sufficient light inside the house.

The other vital consideration on placement is temperature, which is a crucial determinant of your plant’s health. This stick plant is not cold-hardy at all. It does best with temperatures above 21oC, and higher temperatures are preferred during the plant’s growing season. Temperatures below 15oc can cause damage to the plant. Therefore, if your area experiences freezing temperatures, keep the plant indoors so you can control the temperature artificially.

What Soil Should You Get For Euphorbia Leucodendron?

It would help if you considered soil drainage even before considering fertility where this plant is concerned. Waterlogging is arguably the most critical danger to your Euphorbia Leucodendron plant, and this is why soil drainage is so important. When potting the plant, you can use cactus mix and add some pumice to it to increase the soil’s ability to drain.

On the other hand, if you are planting it outside without a pot, ensure you grow it in a mix of both loamy and sandy soil. There should be enough gravel in it to ensure drainage while at the same time retaining some moisture for the benefit of the plant. This succulent is drought-resistant, and it, therefore, doesn’t need too many nutrients. However, your soil should have some organic matter to help feed your plant. Organic matter is essential because it provides food for the plant while retaining the necessary moisture.

Your choice of pot will determine how well-drained your soil will be. It should have holes to let the water out. No matter how well-drained the ground is, water will be a problem if it can’t get out of the pot. A breathable pot is preferable because it assists drainage by allowing water to evaporate. It is advisable to cover the soil’s surface with gravel to keep the water healthy.

Do You Need Fertilizer?

Euphorbia Leucodendron is drought resistant; it grows comfortably on gravel. This means that it doesn’t have a great need for nutrients. However, it needs a little fertilizer once in a while, mainly when grown in a pot. When you develop a plant in a pot, the soil it grows doesn’t benefit from the natural cycles that replenish soil fertility. Thus, after the first year in the pot, your plant will have depleted the nutrients in the soil. You can fill the nutrients with a well-balanced succulent fertilizer mixed to half-strength. Feed your plant once per month during the growth season (spring and summer). This is when they need the nutrients the most.

Watering Euphorbia Leucodendron

There are two reasons why you don’t need water in winter. This plant doesn’t like overwatering, as we saw in our discussion of the soil. However, you should saturate it thoroughly during summer and spring but avoid watering in winter unless the plant shows signs of withering. Even then, it would help if you watered it sparingly.

  1. The plant is dormant during this season, it doesn’t grow, so it doesn’t use much water.
  2. Temperatures are so the moisture already in the soil doesn’t evaporate.

Euphorbia Leucodendron Propagation

Each Euphorbia Leucodendron plant has a single. This usually makes viable seeds rare, and the easiest and most standard propagation method is through cuttings. You should take the following steps when propagating the plant using cuttings.

It would help if you had the following things, so put them together before starting.

  1. A sharp cutting tool such as a knife or hand pruner
  2. Alcohol wipes, methylated or surgical spirit, and cotton wool
  3. Planting pots depending on the number of plants you want to propagate
  4. Sandy soil
  5. Heavy gloves and goggles

Follow the following steps:

  1. Put on your gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes from the toxic milky sap that will run from the plant.
  2. Take your cutting tool, whether a knife or pruner and wipe it with alcohol wipes. If you don’t have alcohol wipes, dip a piece of cotton wool into the spirit and swab the cutting tool with it. Sterilizing the instrument is an integral part of the process as it ensures neither the daughter nor mother plant gets infected with any disease that might be on the tool.
  3. With your now sterilized tool, cut one stem at the base. The stem will start oozing sap. Rinse the cutting with cold water to stop it from oozing. Coldwater causes the lumber to thicken fast.
  4. Allow the cutting to dry off by keeping it under a shade for seven days. The cutting would still root if you planted it without allowing it to callus. However, the cutting will be susceptible to rotting.
  5. Put your potting mix into one of the pots, and plant your Euphorbia Leucodendron cutting.
  6. Build a shade for the cuttings by planting them outside, such as a hedge. Place the cutting away from direct sunlight in a warm place and keep the soil moist. If the sun is scorching, remove it after the plants are established.


euphorbia leucodendron on white background
Photo by @oddplantlady via Instagram

Final Thought

This plant is beautiful, and it is easy to maintain. Besides the husbandry consideration we have discussed above, remember that this plant is toxic. You should keep it well out of reach of children and pets when you keep it in the house.


Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Succulents