Euphorbia Neohumbertii (Little Palm Cactus)

Euphorbia Neohumbertii Image

Euphorbia Neohumbertii is a native of Madagascar, and its unique appearance is probably an indication of its isolation in the islands of Madagascar. This succulent has traveled a long way from Madagascar as it is now used for decoration as a house plant and xeriscaping globally.

Classification and Nomenclature

It belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae and the genus Euphorbia. Besides, Euphorbia Neohumbertii is also known as Euphorbia Neohumbertii Boiteau. The plant has the common name, Little Palm Cactus.

Physical Attributes Of Euphorbia Neohumbertii

Stem: Euphorbia Neohumbertii is a short plant that grows to a maximum of three-foot, and it has four sides. The corners where the different sides of the stem intersect have narrow, sharp spines. Spines are one of the most common characteristics of the genus.

The stem base is narrow, and the four sides are not as well defined. As you move up, the stem becomes thicker, and the four sides and spines get more defined, and then it narrows down towards the top but with the four sides still visible. The spines are greyish, but they get black at the tip and form clusters. Sometimes the stem branches at the top produce several arms.

Leaves: Euphorbia Neohumbertii is one of the plants in the Euphorbia genus with some of the most giant leaves. The leaves are lush, succulent, and broad. The leaves appear at the top of the stem, but this succulent is deciduous; it sheds the leaves in winter, leaving large scars. Where the stem has branched, the branches tend upwards, and each stem sprouts leaves.

Flowers: This Little Palm Cactus blooms in spring. The flowers are red, and they have yellowish tips. These blooms appear at the top of the stems and branches in the same position the leaves were before falling off in winter. Each flower has specific sex, and they form clusters. Each cluster comprises a single female flower but is surrounded by several male flowers. This arrangement of flowers is a common characteristic in the Euphorbia genus.

Toxicity: Euphorbia Neohumbertii produces a whitish sap when injured. This sap, also known as lumber, is also highly toxic. The presence of lumber is one of the common characteristics of Euphorbia plants. The sap has been known to cause blindness if it gets into the eyes. It is poisonous when ingested and can cause blisters when it comes into contact with the skin.

In light of its toxicity, always wear protective gear when working on the plant, especially when grooming it, to keep you safe. Also, keep the plant out of reach of the children.

Euphorbia Neohumbertii Care

LightingFull or Partial Sunlight
PositioningIndoors or Outdoors
Maximum Height90 cm
Cold ToleranceNot Cold-Hardy
FlowersRed and Yellow
PropagationSeeds and Cuttings

The following are some care practices and care considerations for Euphorbia Neohumbertii.

Lighting and Placement

Euphorbia Neohumbertii is well adapted to full sunlight, and for optimum growth, it needs full sunlight for at least three to five hours every day. The sunlight is vital in spring when the plant is blooming, and it needs sunlight. It is also necessary for the plant to enjoy the sunlight for all the seasons when it has leaves for photosynthesis.

Owing to its hardiness where handling sunlight is concerned, you can keep this plant permanently outdoors if you live in a place where winters don’t get too cold. It can withstand the cold up to 320F (00C). However, the optimum temperature for this plant to perform optimally is 600-850F (160-290C).

You can place the plant indoors as long as you place it where it can access direct sunlight, at least sometimes. You can guarantee your plants some sunlight by positioning them next to the southern or western windows that allow direct sunlight into the house.

Keep your Neohumbertii within one foot of the western or southern window to ensure it soaks in as much sunlight as possible before the sunsets. The plant can also survive under indirect sunlight, but you should confirm the room is painted in bright colors so that they can reflect the light and intensify the light accessible to the plant.

In winter, when sunlight is not as intense, you can move the plant outdoors whenever there is a bit of sunlight and let it bask before taking it back inside. It is crucial to turn your Euphorbia Neohumbertii when positioning it on the window because failure to turn it would cause uneven growth. The parts exposed to sunlight would grow faster than those not exposed to the sun.


Although it looks like a cactus, Euphorbia Neohumbertii is a succulent, and plants of this variety don’t do well in waterlogged soil. Too much water is the single greatest danger affecting Euphorbia because it has the potential to cause root rot. When planting in a pot, use a cactus potting mix and blend it with pumice, ground coconut shells, or something else to improve the soil drain.

You can add some organic matter to the soil to enhance its fertility and enable it to maintain a bit of moisture for the plant’s health. It is advisable to use a mix of sandy and loam soil to plant this succulent outdoors. You can bring the soil from elsewhere and put it in the planting holes if clay is the naturally occurring soil in your area.

If you are planting in a pot, its nature is essential, and you should ensure it has drainage holes at the bottom. It doesn’t matter how well draining the soil is if the water has nowhere to go when it passes through the soil. The material from which the pot is made is also a factor in how breathable the soil is. When breathable, the pot allows water to evaporate through the walls, further enhancing soil drainage. A terracotta pot has excellent breathability, and it improves how well aired the soil will be.


The watering of Euphorbia Neohumbertii is one of the most critical husbandry considerations due to root rot. Root rot is the most serious disease affecting the plant. How much water the plant needs varies from place to place and from season to season.

Your Euphorbia will need more water during the growing season, and you will therefore need to water it more. Water in the soil will evaporate faster when it is hotter, like in summer, and you will need to water less in winter due to less evaporation.

Temperatures in the different seasons vary from place to place; thus, there can be no standard watering regime. There is a simple way of getting it right; you should never water before the moisture from the previous drink has dried up.

You can tell if it is time to give your plant another drink by dipping your fingers in the pottage. Pushing the fingers should be easy because the soil is loose. If the first three inches of the soil are dry, it is time to water it again. Don’t water if you find moisture anywhere within three inches.

The monitoring process may be a little complicated initially, but you will get your plant’s rhythm right in due time.


Euphorbia Neohumbertii must be fed in its growing spring and summer seasons. Liquid fertilizer works best for this succulent. It should be from a good brand and blended for use with succulents. Dilute it to half strength and feed it every two weeks in spring and summer. Don’t feed in the fall and winter. Such feeding can be counterproductive as the plant cannot consume the fertilizer since it is not growing. Salts from the fertilizer accumulate in the soil, and they can ultimately destroy the plant.

Pests and Diseases

This plant, like other euphorbias, is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Prevention is the best pest control method for your succulents. If you can get the pests to stay away from your plant, your plants will be healthier and your work easier. You can keep pests and diseases from the plant by keeping it healthy, pruning it, and dry. Also, you can keep the plant safe from pests by applying neem oil. Neem oil is a systemic pesticide that makes the succulent unpalatable to pests.

You can also use organic pesticides such as hot pepper spray, 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 water mixture and liquid soap or pesticide soap also helps.

Root rot is the most common disease, and prevention by using well-draining soil and watering as per recommendations.



You can propagate Euphorbia Neohumbertii either by cuttings or by using seeds.

Propagation through cuttings

It would be best if you had the following things, so put them together before you start.

  1. A sharp cutting tool such as a knife or hand pruner
  2. Alcohol wipes, methylated or surgical spirit, and cotton wool
  3. Pots, the number of which depends on the number of plants you want to propagate
  4. Well-drained soil
  5. Heavy gloves and goggles

Take the following steps for successful propagation.

  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, and wipe it with alcohol wipes or otherwise sterilize 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. Cut one of the spreading branches at the base with your now sterilized tool. The cutting should be about 15 to 20cm long and wait a few days for it to be callous.
  4. Rinse the cutting and the wound on the mother plant to stop them from oozing sap. Coldwater causes the sap to thicken fast.
  5. Once the cut is closed off, plant the Euphorbia Neohumbertii in well-draining soil and water lightly. You should be vigilant not to let the soil be ever parched.
leaves of euphorbia neohumbertii
Leaves of Euphorbia neohumbertii

Propagation through seeds

You can propagate this plant using seeds by collecting pods when they are ripe and sowing them on a seedbed before transplanting them when they are ready. Also, you can wait for the seeds that fall to germinate naturally and plant them. The main problem with this approach is that it takes much longer for the new plants to be established than if you had used cuttings.

Our Take on Euphorbia Neohumbertii

Euphorbia Neohumbertii is a beautiful plant if you take good care of it. It is one of the plants that give you the first-class appearance without requiring too much effort in upkeep. It is small enough to grow comfortably in the house, and it doesn’t require much work. You should keep it out of reach from children and pets due to its toxicity.


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!

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