Plants that look like pencil cactus could be a different species of cactus altogether, or they could be an entirely new plant. For this reason, you should first know about the species you’re interested in before deciding which pencil cactus look-alike plant you want to have in your yard.

Plants That Look Like Pencil Cactus

In this post, we’ll provide you with a list of plant species that resemble the pencil cactus in one way or another. If you’re interested in learning more about plants that seem like pencil cacti, you may find a list of them below.

List of Plants That Look Like Pencil Cactus

1. Milkbush

The Milkbush, also known as Euphorbia Tirucalli, is a succulent tree or shrub that does not have spines.

– Features

It has a thick trunk, primary branches that are brown, and new branches that are green and pencil-like. When cultivated in direct lighting, the branch tips take on a vibrant coloration, and they are also where the small flowers that are contained within the beautiful bracts may be seen clustered. Its natural habitat ranges from the tropics to the subtropics.

Milkbush Cactus

It is currently only found in the southernmost parts of California and Florida. It is frequently employed as a barrier or hedge because of its height. It is resistant to drought, and when planted outside in warm regions, the trees can reach a height of thirty feet.

– Growth Requirements

It is possible for it to be maintained smaller and utilized as a houseplant if it is cultivated in areas that are more temperate. The plant performs best when it is grown outside in dry settings with temperatures that range from fifty degrees Fahrenheit in the evening to seventy degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

2. Firestick Cactus

The firestick cactus is one that resembles that pencil cactus so much, with the features that it has, especially with the tall branches, that are also smooth on the texture and would grow up to 30 feet tall.

When interacting with this plant, it is important to protect your hands from the toxic sap by using gloves, because when it touches the skin, you may feel irritated, and it would even cause different types of intoxication if the sap is consumed.

– Features

Subtle yellow flowers, without stalks, are clustered at the tips of the branchlets within huge, spectacular bracts that resemble petals. It has a bulky, brown-wooded trunk and major branches.

Firestick Cactus

Green and brittle, the new branchlets cluster at the branch tips and have the shape and thickness of pencil leads. The sun causes the tops of the branches to glow a vibrant orange.

From May to July, it blooms, although you might not notice the tiny, yellow flowers since the bracts cover them up.

– Growth Requirements

You should grow the firestick cactus plant in soils that have good drainage and are nutrient-rich but do not have a high organic content, and water the soil only when it is completely dry.

It is recommended that the plant be situated in an area that receives some afternoon shade if the local climate includes hot summers. When you cultivate this plant inside you need to utilize the coarse loams that contain seaweed or leaf mold in addition to gritty material like coarse sand.

3. Dolphin Necklace

The succulent species Curio X Peregrinus, often known as the Dolphin Necklace, belongs to the Asteraceae family and looks like a pencil plant.

– Features

Curio Articulatus and Curio Rowleyanus have been bred to create this hybrid plant. The plant reaches a height of six inches, and its rounded leaves eventually become pointed in two places, giving it an appearance not unlike a school of coltish dolphins. It is in full flower from May through June.

The puffy white blossoms dance around awkwardly and make tight fists. Red and yellow filaments form a halo around each flower. This plant can get sunburned if left out in the sun for too long. When grown in hanging baskets, the plant’s leaves can cascade down, creating a beautiful effect.

Dolphin Necklace

Lastly, note that the plant does best in semi-shade with some early sun and strong, indirect light, is sensitive to cold and thrives in warmer climates.

– Growth Requirements

A healthy plant can reach a height of over two feet in its first year of growth. As a means of promoting new growth and the plant’s overall health, fertilization once or twice yearly is possible.

Taking cuttings from the plant will allow it to multiply, in addition, you don’t need to water it thoroughly, once every 10 to 15 days is perfectly fine.

4. Spice Cactus

In the cactus family, you’ll find the spice cactus, also known by its scientific name, Hatiora Salicornioides. Its other common names include the Dancing Bones, Bottle Cactus, and Drunkard’s Dream.

– Features

As a decorative plant, it is occasionally cultivated in both indoor and outdoor settings. This plant has an upright to pendent growth pattern and reaches a height of around three feet. The individual pieces of its stems are around two inches in length.

Flowers range in color from yellow to orange, are roughly an inch in length and width when fully open, and appear at the tips of the newest branches of the stem.

Spice Cactus

Each piece is in the form of a team or container, with the wider end at the top and the thinner end at the bottom. From the tip of each segment, new stems grow in a whorl of up to six arms.

Flowers are followed by fruit that is both translucent and white. The three easternmost states of Brazil—the Northeast, the Southeast, and the South—are rich in the conditions necessary to grow the spice cactus.

– Growth Requirements

When you set some indirect light, and a well-draining soil, that is when this cactus will grow in a healthy way and will be prosperous. Make sure that you have some sand in the soil so that the roots won’t stay in a soggy region. Also note that it thrives in wet woodlands, savannas, and rocky regions.

5. Mistletoe Cactus

If you are looking for a pencil cactus-lookalike plant for potting mix then the Mistletoe Cactus or Rhipsalis Baccifera is a great choice. It is a type of cactus that grows on other plants and is known to have originated in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean and Florida.

It can also be found in the tropical regions of Africa and up to Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it’s the only species of cactus that can be found growing in its natural environment outside the Americas.

Mistletoe Cactus

– Features

The plant’s stems are long and thin, cylinder-shaped, coated in small spines all along their length, the blooms are quite delicate, and grow in a pure white color during the springtime.

– Growth Requirements

This cactus is very low maintenance and does not necessitate a lot of watering at any time. To successfully cultivate this plant, you will need to begin with a clipping or a seedling and then place it in a container with soil that was improved by the addition of coarse sand.

Maintain a consistent level of moisture in the potting media without allowing it to get saturated; when you observe signs of wilting, you should simply use water.

6. Rice Cactus

Growing primarily on boulders and tree stumps in tropical regions, the Rice Cactus or Rhipsalis Cereuscula is a tiny stick plant.

– Features

It stands out because of its distinctive, perhaps dangling, pair of stems. It’s a low-maintenance, indoor plant that looks great. The Rice Cactus is a shrub in the cactus family that epiphytically develops on other plants. Its many thin, cylindrical stems set it apart from other succulents and cacti.

The stems that eventually bear the delicate creamy-white flowers are supported by long, slender branches, giving the plant a densely branched look.

Rice Cactus

– Name Significance

The ancient Greek term for “wickerwork” is where the English word “wicker” comes from, and it is the source of the name “Rhipsalis” which is fitting given the plant’s unique and intriguing form.

However, the name “Cereuscula” means “little candles” or “tiny torch” possibly referring to the flower’s shape. You can find this plant all over the tropics and subtropics, from Brazil and Uruguay to the Amazon and Colombia.

– Growth Requirements

This plant requires bright, filtered light in order to flourish, although they grow best in partial to full shade. This beautiful green plant would also thrive when it has an average humidity level, in addition to a moist soil that will not accumulate water in the bottom.

7. Bird’s Foot Cactus

The Bird’s Foot Cactus is one of the most beautiful plants that resemble the pencil cacti. Scientifically this plant is known as Rhipsalis Micrantha.

– Features

This native South American plant is considered to be one of the finest popular look-alikes for the pencil cactus. This is due to the fact that its stems, which are long, thin, and cascading, are nearly identical to those of the real cactus. Due to the fact that it flowers around the same time as Christmas, the Bird’s Foot Cactus is also referred to as the False Christmas Cactus.

Bird Foot Cactus

Apart from that time, it is covered in delicate leaves that are pointed at the tip and grow on each of its branches.

– Growth Requirements

If you are interested in learning how to cultivate this plant, the most important thing to keep in mind when you first start tending to it is to ensure that it does not receive an excessive amount of water. Between watering, let the soil get completely dry.

It thrives in bright light but should be kept out of long exposure to the sun and placed somewhere that doesn’t have too many breezes or cold air.

8. Rattail Cactus

If you do not plan to grow pencil cactus and instead want another cactus plant that looks almost similar to it, you can go for the Rattail Cactus or Aporocactus Flagelliformis.

– Features

It is a flowering plant species that belongs to the family Cactaceae and is the species of the genus Aporocactus that is most commonly grown in cultivation. It is common practice to cultivate this plant due to the ease with which it may be cultivated and the appealing floral displays that it produces.

Rattail Cactus

Not only that, but it features bristle-like, rising stems that can be yellow, brown, green, or gray in color, and the base of the plant branches out in a prodigious manner.

It has zygomorphic flowers that are around one foot long and one and a half feet wide. In addition to having bilateral symmetry, oblique symmetry, and diurnal activity, the flower limbs remain open for around four days. Most notably, the blossoms do not have any fragrance.

– Growth Requirements

These plants can only survive at temperatures that are at least 43 degrees Fahrenheit above freezing. Furthermore, if you consider cultivating it, you must note that the soil of this plant should be one that is acidic and light at the same time, where the roots will not tolerate staying in the wet conditions.

9. Dancing Bones

The cactus known as Hatiora Cylindrica or Dancing Bones belongs to the Rhipsalideae tribe of the Cactoideae subfamily and is frequently found growing epiphytically.

– Features

Its original home is in the east of Brazil, where it can be found growing in a range of environments, including as wet forests, sand dunes, and rocks along the shore. In contrast to H. Salicornioides, which have bottle-shaped structures, they are strictly cylindrical.

Dancing Bones

Its blooms, which are produced at the tips of the branches, have many petals that range in color from yellow to orange and open up rather wide. They are then followed by fruits of white color.

It can be found in a range of environments, such as moist forests, sand dunes, and rocks along the coast, where it thrives as an epiphyte, on the ground, and most likely as a lithophyte.

On the other hand, you should note that it is a perennial plant that does not produce leaves but has many branched green stalks that are composed of separate segments.

10. Hatiora Herminiae

In the family Cactaceae and belonging to the tribe Rhipsalideae, the flowering plant known as Hatiora Herminiae can be found. It is an epiphyte that can be found growing in the cloud forests of Southeast Brazil.

– Features

Hatiora Herminiae may grow to a height of approximately twelve inches and can either grow straight or arch over.

Hatiora Herminiae

At the very end of each segment is where you’ll find a branch. Flowers that range in color from pink to magenta and can be up to an inch long are produced by areoles at the tips of the stems. Its flowers are followed by berries of an olive green color.

The stems have a circular cross-section, are not twisted, and are formed of segments that range in length from one to two inches and have a diameter of one-fourth of an inch.

11. Rhipsalis Clavata

Rhipsalis Clavata cascades from swinging pots and containers with narrow cylindrical pendant stem that has a pale green color.

– Features

The ‘bell’ flowers are very tiny and white, and they are followed by small fruits that might be yellow or red. The blooms appear at random throughout the season. It thrives indoors, but its placement needs to be carefully considered.

Rhipsalis Clavata

– Growth Requirements

It should not be placed too near windows that get afternoon sun. Rhipsalis Clavata is not tolerant of dry conditions, thus it requires consistent watering. However, it is important not to overwater it because this might cause the bases to rot.

The best environment for this plant is a secluded spot or in ornamental containers that dangle from the ceiling. It does not like being exposed to direct sunlight because it might cause it to burn, become yellow, or develop spots.


From now on, it will be easier for you to get plants that look like pencil cactus plants because you have already learned so much about these plants. Here are a few suggestions at a glance,

  • The Rattail Cactus is an excellent option if you want a flowering plant for your landscape.
  • The Spice Cactus is a great option if you’d like a decorative plant instead of a Pencil Cactus.
  • If you’d like a plant comparable to a pencil cactus but can’t put it outside, the Rice Cactus is a great solution.
  • The Dolphin Necklace is the greatest alternative to actual cactus species if you just want a plant that looks like a cactus.

Which one of these plants do you plan on bringing into your home or planting in your yard?

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