The Pencil Cactus is Everything You’ve Been Searching for in a Houseplant

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Just look at this fabulous plant!
Image: edgeplot via Flickr CC

Have you been searching for a new, somewhat low maintenance houseplant to add a touch of green to one of your rooms? Look no further than the Pencil Cactus. Also known as “Milkbush” or Euphorbia tirucalli, the Pencil Cactus is bright, unique-looking, and aesthetically dazzling. Erin Boyle for Gardenista calls it “the new ‘it’ houseplant,” and once you’ve laid your eyes on one, you’ll understand why.

Boyle explains, “Lately we’ve been seeing Euphorbia tirucalli pop up everywhere: tucked into the backgrounds of photos on design blogs; in our Pinterest stream, and arriving by the truckload in Manhattan’s 28th Street flower district. And with good reason; the Pencil Cactus owes its popularity both to its good looks and its hardiness.” The Pencil Cactus looks like an intricate, reaching sculpture – one with many small, textured limbs curving up towards the ceiling. With little care, these plants are known to grow many feet tall, which means that in just a few years you can go from having a subtly decorative houseplant to a truly signature room accessory.

One thing to be aware of when handling a Pencil Cactus is that this plant is mildly poisonous. Some online gardening forums share horror stories of the dangerous effects of coming in contact with the plant’s milky latex that oozes out from the stems if they are cut. This latex is a skin and eye irritant, and is also poisonous when ingested, so take care to handle your Pencil Cactus very carefully. If you are wary of the precautions necessary to keep up your plant, then it will be no more dangerous than any other houseplant you tend to.

Caring for your Pencil Cactus will be quite easy. Despite what its name suggests, the plant is technically a succulent, and should be treated as such. It will need minimal watering (as little as once every two weeks in the wintertime), and repotting as necessary, preferably during warmer seasons.

What do you think of the Pencil Cactus? Do you have any other helpful tips for caring for this kind of plant?

About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
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