Fire Sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’) is an attractive, ornamental succulent shrub, that can grow up to 25 feet tall and up to 3 m wide. Branches are smooth, cylindrical, green, about the diameter of a pencil. The branch tips are orange, red, or pink. The color tends to fade closer to yellow in the summer and becomes redder in the winter. There are no spines. The leaves are small, about 1.3 cm long and less than 3 mm wide. They fall off early, so usually, the stems appear naked. The flowers are pale yellow and inconspicuous.
Scientific Name: Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’
Synonyms: Euphorbia tirucalli var. rosea, Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’, Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’
Common Names: Fire Sticks, Sticks on Fire, Sticks of Fire, Red Pencil Tree.
How to grow and maintain Fire Sticks (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’):
The fire sticks plant will flourish in zones with partial sun, filtered sunlight and full sun. Keep your plant in front of a window facing east, south, or west.
It thrives best in a soil with excellent drainage. The fire sticks tree tolerates all types of soils with an ideal pH around 6.0 (slightly acidic). Utilize a basic potting soil mix for container grown Pencil Trees.
It prefers normal summer temperatures 18-21ºC / 65 -70ºF. In winter, it prefers cooler temperatures around 10ºC / 50ºF.
Water moderately, during the growing season. Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce water in winter when the plant rests. Also, avoid getting water on the leaves and stems because they can rot if they get too wet.
Fertilize with a controlled-release fertilizer at the beginning of the season or weekly with a weak liquid solution. Utilize a balanced 20-20-20 compost at 1/4 strength on mature plants, and manure with less nitrogen on young plants. In winter, feed monthly.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. After taking a cutting, dip it in fresh water to stop the flow of latex, then allow to dry for a week and form a callous before potting in moist sand or a cactus mix. During trimming and propagation, wear protective clothing to avoid getting the latex on your skin or in your eyes.
Prune the fire sticks tree when it gets too large and keeps it at the desired height. Always wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when pruning the plant to prevent the irritating sap from getting on your skin.
Pests and Diseases:
Euphorbia may be susceptible to mealybugs, scale insects, occasionally spider mites.