Pencil cactus has a deceptive name. The plant is actually succulent and not a cactus. Fascinating, isn’t it? They’re infamous because of their poisonous latex. People will actively discourage you from buying a pencil cactus. But we assure you, with adequate care, these succulents make a great addition to your home.
This succulent is also known as ‘Sticks on Fire’. This is because they have many fragile succulent twigs which are about 7 mm thick. They grow from the base in shades of pink, orange, and yellow making the plant absolutely stunning.
The pencil cactus, also known as ‘milk bush’, releases milky latex. This latex can be toxic to the skin and cause irritation and redness. Ingestion can cause burns in your mouth.
However, we have heard contradictory accounts. Some owners have felt no such effects when they got the latex on the skin, while others have. So, there’s always a risk and you should take precautions while taking care of your pencil cactus.
Wear eye protection gear and gloves while taking care of the plant. Inform guests to not touch the plant.
You can put your pencil cactus beside your aloes, agaves, and other cacti. If you’re wondering, ‘how to care for pencil cactus’, it is very perfect for the homeowner who travels a lot and wants plants.
Light and Temperature Requirements – Place your pot in a sunny and warm area. This ensures that the twigs gain vibrant shades of pink, orange, and yellow. In its natural habitat, the pencil cactus plant can grow up to 7 meters. However, in your home with adequate care, it can rise up to six feet, maximum. Rotate your plant so that it grows evenly.
Soil Conditions – Provide slightly gritty soil. Re-pot your plant every 2-3 years. Pick a pot that is at least 2 inches in diameter so that the cactus has enough room to grow. If you want to preserve the size of your cactus, replant in the same pot and trim the roots.
How often to water pencil cactus – Water once every two weeks and once a month in winters. Don’t pour too much water and let the plant dry out. Provide good drainage. If the plant is turning gray or looks brittle, you may be overwatering.
Food requirements – You can use liquid houseplant food to fertilize the cactus once a year and no more. Inspect the undersides of the leaves of your pencil cactus for pests frequently.
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