Plant Care African Milk Bush

African Milk Bush

Reviewed by: Kiersten Rankel | Last Updated: 01/24/2023

4.7 out of 5 (61 experiences)

African Milk Bush has a Survivor plant personality Survivor
African Milk Bush has a Fast grower plant personality Fast grower

About African Milk Bush

This plant grows tiny leaves that drop off once they mature. Plants in the Euphorbia genus have poisonous, milky, white, latex-like sap so be sure to keep them far from curious pets and children ⚠️ You may hear them referred to as cacti, but they're actually completely unrelated and belong to a group of plants known as spurges!

Taxonomy

Euphorbia trigona
Euphorbia
Euphorbiaceae
Malpighiales

Also known as

African Milk Tree and 'rubra'

How to care for African Milk Bush

💦 Water

How often to water your African Milk Bush

Water needs for African Milk Bush
0.5 cups
every 12

African Milk Bush needs 0.5 cups of water every 12 when it doesn’t get direct sunlight and is potted in a 5" pot.

Use our water calculator to personalize watering recommendations to your environment or download Greg for more advanced recommendations for all of your plants.

Calculate water needs of African Milk Bush

Water 0.5 cups every
12

Does your plant get direct sunlight?

Select the pot size

5"
☀️ Light

Finding light for African Milk Bush in your home

Light needs and placement for plant African Milk Bush: 1ft from a window
1ft or less from
a window

African Milk Bush love being close to bright, sunny windows 😎.

Place it less than 1ft from a south-facing window to maximize the potential for growth.

African Milk Bush does not tolerate low-light 🚫.

Select your region to see how the current weather in your area affects the placement of African Milk Bush in your home 🏡.

🪴 Nutrients

How to fertilize African Milk Bush

Nutrient, fertilizer, and repotting needs for African Milk Bush: repot after 2X growth

Most potting soils come with ample nutrients which plants use to produce new growth.

By the time your plant has depleted the nutrients in its soil it’s likely grown enough to need a larger pot anyway.

To replenish this plant's nutrients, repot your African Milk Bush after it doubles in size or once a year—whichever comes first.

💡 FAQs
⭐ Difficulty Level

African Milk Bush is generally easy to care for, though some plant parents report facing challenges with growing it. Check out the reviews down below to read more about their experiences!


💦 Water Needs

African Milk Bush thrives in dry soil and should be watered sparingly. Use our water calculator to personalize watering recommendations to your environment or download Greg for more advanced recommendations for all of your plants.


☀️ Sunlight Needs

African Milk Bush requires abundant, bright and direct light. Place it less than one foot from a window to ensure it receives enough light to survive 💪. Select your region to see how the current weather in your area affects the placement in your home 🏡.


🐶 🐈 👶 Toxicity

African Milk Bush is not safe to consume. If you, a family member, or a pet has ingested any amount of plant material contact Poison Control, US (800) 222-1222, or your veterinarian. If you have children, cats, or dogs in the home, we suggest keeping this plant out of reach.


💨 Humidity

African Milk Bush enjoys lots of humidity. Provide humidity for your plant by watering regularly and thoroughly, since plants absorb most water through their root system rather than their leaves. They may also benefit from being placed next to a humidifier.


🪴 Soil

African Milk Bush is very sensitive to wet soil, so choose a potting soil that drains very well and doesn’t retain too much moisture. A good soil will have lots of perlite or vermiculite for drainage and some organic matter for nutrition. A few handfuls of perlite added to regular store-bought cactus soil will do the trick!


💩 Fertilizer

African Milk Bush grows very slowly and doesn’t require added fertilizer. Replacing your plant’s potting soil once a year should provide them with more than enough nutrition. Remember, plants get their energy from sunlight, not fertilizer!


❄️ Dormancy

It’s common for African Milk Bush to go dormant in the wintertime and you may notice their growth slow down. Waterings should be spaced out more during this time.


🌎 Native Region

African Milk Bush is native to Worldwide.


🌸 Flowers

African Milk Bush produces flowers in the wild, but does not flower when kept as houseplants.


⬆️ ⬇️ Growth Pattern

African Milk Bush grows vertically and new growth will emerge from the top of the plant.


🌦️ Growing Outdoors

USDA Hardiness Zone
African Milk Bush can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12b. Find your local hardiness zone here.


🌱 Propagation

African Milk Bush can be propagated by the stem method. To propagate:

  • Make a cut just above the node. The node is the break in the stem where the leaf emerges.
  • To get the cutting to root, you can either:
    • Place the cutting in water until roots emerge and are ~2” long and then transplant into well-draining soil, or
    • Place the cutting directly into well-draining soil and water when dry.

🧐 Troubleshooting

When troubleshooting a sad-looking houseplant, start by checking for signs of distress in its leaves, such as yellowing, browning, or drooping, which can indicate overwatering or nutrient deficiencies.

Inspect the soil moisture; too dry or too wet soil can cause problems.

Ensure the plant is getting the right amount of light, as too much or too little can stress it.

Finally, consider environmental factors like temperature and humidity, and adjust care routines accordingly to revive your plant.


😖 Common Issues

Overwatering is a likely cause of issues with African Milk Bush. These plants are very sensitive to wet soil so if you notice your plant becoming squishy or translucent, overwatering is the likely culprit.

Cut your plant just past where the rot ends and allow it to callus over for a few days before replanting it in fresh, dry soil. Download Greg to make sure your plant never gets overwatered again!


Care Summary for African Milk Bush

African Milk Bush

African Milk Bush


Greg recommends:

Water

0.5 cups every 12 days

Placement

< 1ft from a window

Nutrients

Repot after 2x growth

Based on the 4” pot your plant is in, and that it doesn’t get direct sunlight.

What other plant parents say

African Milk Bush has a Survivor plant personality Survivor 46
African Milk Bush has a Fast grower plant personality Fast grower 24
African Milk Bush has a Easy to propagate plant personality Easy to propagate 10
African Milk Bush has a Blooms easily plant personality Blooms easily 7
African Milk Bush has a Large, lush leaves plant personality Large, lush leaves 5
African Milk Bush has a Browns easily plant personality Browns easily 3
@Cherryboihunter avatar
@@Cherryboihunter
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 249 XP
globe Houston, TX
01/26/2022

Beautiful plant that grows fast and easy to take care of with little maintenance. Perfect for an outdoor patio/balcony area with just enough sun to soak in. Mine has grown these amazing red leaves that have surprisingly stayed on throughout the colder months.

I would be a little cautious when handling it because aside from the pointy thorns on it, pricking yourself or getting it’s sap on you can cause annoying itchiness and discomfort. Please make sure to keep this away from pets or small children. If you practice care with this plant, it will certainly reward you with lots of growth and love.

Fast grower Fast grower
Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Blooms easily Blooms easily
Survivor Survivor
@Brooke0819 avatar
@@Brooke0819
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 114 XP
globe Menlo, GA
12/07/2021

His name is Tyrone and he is in a pot with three other little plants he is growing fabulously and is so easy to take care of!!

Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Survivor Survivor
@Kiersten avatar
@@Kiersten
leaf-1 35 Plants
xp 37,156 XP
globe New Orleans, LA
11/24/2021

One of my lowest maintenance plants!

Fast grower Fast grower
Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Survivor Survivor
@ChikinNanban avatar
@@ChikinNanban
leaf-1 5 Plants
xp 97 XP
11/02/2021

It’s my favorite babe!
He grew so quickly!

Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Survivor Survivor
Maija avatar
@Maija
leaf-1 2 Plants
xp 133 XP
08/16/2021

Very rewarding to watch this plant grow and thrive 🥰 I’ve fallen in love with this plant over time

Fast grower Fast grower
Large, lush leaves Large, lush leaves
Blooms easily Blooms easily
Survivor Survivor
@Michaklos avatar
@@Michaklos
leaf-1 32 Plants
xp 2,396 XP
globe Dundee, Scotland
08/13/2021

Nothing special about this plant. Easy to care for, apart from that nothing special

Zanna avatar
@Zanna
leaf-1 2 Plants
xp 53 XP
globe London, England
08/09/2021

jumped out of his pot about 36 times, still alive, I appreciate

Survivor Survivor
@honeyyvoiced avatar
@@honeyyvoiced
leaf-1 9 Plants
xp 8,527 XP
globe Mount Prospect, IL
08/04/2021

Very hardy just be extremely careful around pets it is not pet safe

Survivor Survivor
B avatar
@B
leaf-1 38 Plants
xp 1,002 XP
globe Essex Fells, NJ
07/09/2021

I received this cactus as a gift and while it’s pretty low maintenance, it’s also pretty ugly. I feel badly for it because of its looks. I won’t kill it or throw it away, but I won’t display it either.

Survivor Survivor
Browns easily Browns easily
Silvia avatar
@Silvia
leaf-1 103 Plants
xp 3,724 XP
globe Albuquerque, NM
07/01/2021

I have had this old man ever since he was an inch tall he has grown to be almost 3 feet I’ve had him for many years. This guy is a great cactus and I love him to pieces. Easy to grow I put him outside in the summer make sure he’s got some shade on him because the sun is too hot here. I recommend one to y’a.

Survivor Survivor
@Paigetibbits avatar
@@Paigetibbits
leaf-1 11 Plants
xp 156 XP
06/29/2021

Make sure you have a nice sunny spot for it and water regularly if in direct sunlight. Also have good drainage for it.

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor
@NishLaursen avatar
@@NishLaursen
leaf-1 36 Plants
xp 803 XP
globe Arvada, CO
06/28/2021

Easy to propagate just be careful of the thorns. Really easy to care for, let it dry out really well, doesn’t require much water.

Fast grower Fast grower
Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Survivor Survivor
@plantki11er avatar
@@plantki11er
leaf-1 7 Plants
xp 176 XP
globe Sarasota, FL
06/08/2021

Very easy to grow

Fast grower Fast grower
Easy to propagate Easy to propagate
Survivor Survivor
@kat-pal avatar
@@kat-pal
leaf-1 51 Plants
xp 5,726 XP
06/03/2021

I’ve had this plant for years as a novice plant mom. It requires minimal care and has endured ignorance.

Survivor Survivor
Isabella avatar
@Isabella
leaf-1 10 Plants
xp 420 XP
globe Rocklin, CA
05/27/2021

Don’t overwater it and give it love!

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor
@Julianne96 avatar
@@Julianne96
leaf-1 37 Plants
xp 614 XP
globe Montréal, Québec
05/18/2021

Never dies

Survivor Survivor
@Sarrahusere0bb5a94 avatar
@@Sarrahusere0bb5a94
leaf-1 18 Plants
xp 3,378 XP
04/26/2021

I got the African milk bush because it was next to an orchid but it has lasted over three years and it’s beautiful against most any plans

Survivor Survivor
@Indie_go avatar
@@Indie_go
leaf-1 2 Plants
xp 19 XP
03/21/2021

These cacti are great! They don’t need watering too frequently and are very tough plants. I will say that from experience these plants grow better in a relatively dry, room temperature place, and only need watering about once every 2-3 weeks depending on the temperature. These plants can grow very tall too, and they’re beautiful! Would definitely recommend for someone who’s new with plants!

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor
@User3022 avatar
@@User3022
leaf-1 28 Plants
xp 4,804 XP
globe Cornwall, Ontario
02/12/2021

One of the easier cactus type plants

Fast grower Fast grower
Survivor Survivor

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