Euphorbia horrida propagationEuphorbia Horrida, often referred to as the African Milk Barrel, is a succulent shrub with wavy spines and a strong, clumpy stem. These are low-maintenance and easy-to-grow plants. We did a little searching and narrowed down all the information about Euphoria Horrida on the Internet. And now that information is to be passed on to you. So let’s begin right away.

Euphorbia Horrida Background

Home to the Great Karoo of South Africa, Euphorbia Horrida has been around for centuries now. This succulent has so many variations that it is every so often difficult to find the one you’re looking for. The plant highly resembles a cactus, and people often mistake them to be from the cacti species.

It comes from the Genus of Euphorbia and is a part of the Euphorbiaceae family. And succulents from this family are all perennial with a prolonged growth rate.

Euphorbia Horrida Appearance

The appearance of Euphorbia Horrida is similar to other succulents of the family. The best trick to identify the plant is by looking at its basal. Stems of Euphorbia Horrida are tightly packed with each other and have a beautiful grey-blue and greenish color. The branches of this plant are firm, erect, cylinder-shaped, and spiny.

– Spines and Ribs

The spines are rigid parched remnants of its flower shoots and are dark in color in the initial stages of its budding. The stems of Euphorbia Horrida can grow up to 4.9 feet tall and about six inches wide, and has about eleven to nineteen ribs that are pretty prominent.

– Thorns and Flowers

Euphorbia Horrida has thorns poking out from each rib that make it resemble a cactus. These prickles are incredibly sharp and can fall anywhere from 20-25 per rib. Its flowers are tiny yellow-greenish or plum-colored solitary cyathia. Flowers of Euphorbia Horrida are dormant in winters and bloom at their full strength in summer.

Growing Euphorbia Horrida is the easiest thing ever. It is a self-sufficient plant and does not require extreme care. In fact, these plants are more susceptible to die from over-caring than from neglecting them. Caring for Euphorbia Horrida is simple as it can grow ideally with only the most basic of its needs being fulfilled. Let’s have a look at the factors that require attention.

– Light Requirements

Succulents like Euphorbia Horrida cultivate in intense light only and need full sun for their best growth. When you plant it in a garden, make sure you select a place that gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day. However, before planting it somewhere, you must know the difference between insufficient sunlight and excessive sunlight.

– Euphorbia Horrida Outdoors

Euphorbia Horrida cannot bear harsh sunlight for long periods. It prefers a lightly warm climate. This means that you should avoid keeping it outdoors when the sun is blazing, especially in summer afternoons. Also, remember to change its direction towards the sun after regular intervals, so it doesn’t grow lopsided.

– Euphorbia Horrida Indoors

You can keep them as indoor plants if you reside in cold regions. That’s because Euphorbia Horrida cannot handle winter. But it can deal with temperatures under 24.8 F for some time before it begins to disintegrate and then die. Indoors, place it near a windowsill in your home that gets the most sun during the day. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, positioning it towards the South should do the trick.

– Water Requirements

Euphorbia Horrida is native to the arid lands of Africa and hence, is a less water-tolerant plant. You can water the plant once every week in summer, especially if the days are hotter, but there is hardly any need to water it thoroughly in winters. You can spray some mist water on the leaves, but that should be all.

The method to water Euphorbia Horrida is similar to any other succulent. Thoroughly soak the plant with water and then allow it to drain till the last drop. That’s because excess water stored in the mulch can harm the plant by causing root rot.

Also, make sure you check the condition of the leaves every once in a while if they are becoming crisp or turning brown. This often happens due to the insufficiency of water and can be resolved easily.

Euphorbia Horrida Drainage

When dealing with succulent shrubs, drainage of the soil is of utmost importance. For Euphorbia Horrida, make sure the pot or container you use has multiple drainage holes at the bottom so the water can easily flow out. The soil would sit on the water in other cases, and Euphorbia Horrida does not like damp mulch.

Euphorbia Horrida Soil

Euphorbia Horrida is not specific about the soil it is planted in. As far as alkaline soil is concerned, this succulent can survive well in it if the pH is less acidic. The mulch, however, must have a cactus potting mix and be well-draining. To avoid confusion in finding the right mulch, go for neutral soil to plant the shrub.

Euphorbia Horrida Propagation

Growing euphorbia horridaYou can propagate Euphorbia Horrida through seeds as well as cuttings. Most people go for the cuttings method since it is easy to implement and works swiftly. The seeds method, on the other hand, can take longer for the plant to germinate. We have provided detailed descriptions of both methods below so you can make the decision yourself.

– Cuttings

For propagating through Euphorbia Horrida cuttings, you need to have a mother plant to extract a delicate leaf from it. Take a sharp knife and make a swift cut for the offset on the mother plant. Once you have the offset, thoroughly clean it from any soil or debris left in its roots.

Allow the offset to become callous for a week or so before replanting it; this would allow the wounds to heal. If done otherwise, the damaged root would be open and will be subject to root rot. Now plant the offset with great care and use the best quality soil for this purpose. You can water the mulch as soon as its upper surface dries out.

– Seeds

Euphorbia Horrida propagation through seeds is another way, but it is prolonged and can take several weeks to turn into complete form. To exercise this way, you need to get Euphorbia Horrida seeds from a reputable nursery to ensure they are of high quality. Once you have them, very carefully plant them in a well-draining cactus soil mixture so it can begin its propagation.

You would start seeing flowers in a month or two. You can do this outdoors as well, but it’s preferred to be kept indoors, especially at the time of seed plantation.

Euphorbia Horrida Problems

Euphorbia Horrida is of those succulents that are problem-free. However, over-watering, infections, and pest infestations can often be the reason for people’s distress over the plant. Let’s review those issues in detail.

– Overwatering

Excess water stored in the soil can cause the death of your plant, as mentioned above. Make sure Euphorbia Horrida has a sufficient amount of water to it, no more, no less.  And watering this succulent highly depends upon the ongoing season.

When in summer, your plant would need regular watering to prevent dehydration and retain moisture. In winters, however, watering the succulent once a month should be more than enough.

– Pest Infestations

Euphorbia Horrida does not have much resistance against insects and pests like mealybugs, snails, spider mites, and scale insects. It needs to be protected against these, and you can confirm the presence of these insects by thoroughly looking at the shrub. If it has small, brown holes at its bottom, know that it is a pest infestation. You can quickly get rid of the pest by spraying a pesticide.

– Infections

Although infections are rare, more and more plants are being identified with bacterial and fungal infections nowadays. A plant that is infected would have unusual dark spots. If the infection is at bay, the part infected can be cut off, and the rest of it can be saved. However, if the infection has spread, it would be not easy to treat and destroy the plant.

Hence, make sure to do a regular checkup on the health of your plants.

– Latex

Also, ensure to wear gloves before handling the plant. When the plant is damaged, it oozes a milky sap that is usually referred to as latex. It can be poisonous and lead to severe allergies to your skin.


We have learned so much about Euphorbia Horrida up till here. Let’s sum everything up, so you don’t miss out on any point:

  • Euphorbia Horrida loves warm climates and full sun.
  • It can grow up to 4.9 feet tall and 6 inches thick.
  • It is highly susceptible to damage due to pest infestation.
  • It is not a big fan of storing excess water.
  • It is easy to grow and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep.
  • It needs intense light and perfect drainage to grow at a fast rate.
  • With consistent provisions, it is sure to have a long, healthy life.

Euphorbia horrida appearanceThat being said, our article comes to an end. Euphorbia Horrida is a great plant to add to your collection, so get this plant in order to bring vibrancy to your home!

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