Sticks on Fire plant (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’)

The plant known scientifically as Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’ is a variant of the Euphorbia tirucalli species. Indigenous to Madagascar and certain regions in Southern Africa, this species thrives in arid environments, particularly in savannas, where it is commonly utilized for cattle fodder and as hedging. Its cultivation has expanded to various tropical areas, including Brazil, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, and others, establishing itself as a favored choice for ornamental purposes. The plant adapts well to container cultivation, maintaining its upright growth habit even when grown in pots.

Appearance and growth habit

  • The “Sticks on Fire” plant is characterized by slender, upright, and cylindrical branches that resemble sticks or pencils.
  • The stems are smooth, and they grow in a vertical fashion in other words, they lack the spines or thorns commonly associated with some other succulents.
  • The stems may branch out from the base, creating a bushier appearance over time.
  • The coloration ranges from green at the base, transitioning through shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink towards the tips.
  • Unlike many traditional plants, the Sticks on Fire plant lacks true leaves. Instead, photosynthesis primarily occurs in the stems, which contain chlorophyll and contribute to the plant’s green color at the base.
  • In optimal conditions, Sticks on Fire plants can reach several feet in height. The height can vary depending on factors such as the age of the plant, growing conditions, and maintenance practices.

Facts About Sticks on Fire plant

Scientific NameEuphorbia tirucalli ‘Sticks on Fire’
Common NameSticks on Fire, Firestick Plant
Native AreaMadagascar, Africa
Hardiness ZonesUSDA Zones 9-11 (Can tolerate some frost but generally prefers warmer climates)
SizeHeight: Several feet (varies depending on growing conditions)
Growth HabitUpright, columnar, with slender and cylindrical stems
Stem ColorationGreen at the base, transitioning to shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink
Stem StructureSmooth, lacking traditional leaves, photosynthesis occurs in the stems
Branching PatternMay produce lateral branches, contributing to a denser appearance
Container GrowthWell-adapted to container cultivation, maintains upright growth
Light RequirementsFull sun (preferably 6-8 hours of sunlight daily)
Soil TypeWell-draining soil, sandy or cactus mix recommended
Watering NeedsInfrequent watering, allow soil to dry out between waterings
Temperature ToleranceTolerant of high temperatures, protect from frost
ToxicityContains a milky sap that can be irritating to the skin and toxic if ingested
UsesOrnamental plant in gardens, xeriscape landscapes; suitable for containers
MaintenanceLow-maintenance, occasional pruning for shaping
AdaptabilityAdapts well to arid and semi-arid environments
SymbolismOften associated with resilience and adaptability
ConservationConsideration for conservation due to habitat destruction in native regions
Special ConsiderationsHandle with care due to toxic sap; keep away from pets and children