Euphorbia ingens is a flowering plant in the Euphorbiaceae family that is only found in the wild in dry areas of southern Africa.
However, young plants can thrive indoors as houseplants, which, if taken care of, can easily grow to reach the ceiling. Euphorbia ingens grows well in any well-drained soil in full sun.
In this article, we will cover what kind of plant Euphorbia ingens is and how to care for it.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Euphorbia Ingens?
- 2 Euphorbia Ingens Candelabra Tree Care
- 3 Conclusion
- 4 Other Euphorbia Plants
- 5 References
What is Euphorbia Ingens?
Euphorbia ingens is a flowering plant in the spurge family called Euphorbiaceae.
Euphorbiaceae is one of the largest flowering plant families, with over 2,000 types, from small annuals to large, long-lived perennials and deciduous shrubs.
In fact, poinsettias, the festive red-colored plants you see displayed everywhere in the wintertime, are arguably the most well-known euphorbia plants.
Euphorbia ingens is commonly referred to as the Common Tree Euphorbia, Candelabra Tree, Naboom, and sometimes called the Cowboy Cactus or Good Luck Cactus.
Euphorbia ingens is a tall succulent tree that’s native to Southern Africa. They tend to grow in dry regions and semi-savannas, using rocky outcrops or deep sand to sprout their root systems.
Mature plants can grow up to 30 feet tall in the wild, with four-angled erect branches, wavy ridges, and paired spines.
It can grow both indoors and outdoors, provided they receive the right amount of light.
The Candelabra Tree blooms clusters of greenish-yellow flowers with winged petals from April to July, followed by round, smooth, reddish fruits from August to October.
The yellow-green flowers appear on the top part of the plant and cover the fleshy ridges that are found on the plant.
The foliage is sparse and ephemeral; from a distance, these succulent trees resemble a green balloon on a stick.
The erect green stem resembling a cactus is responsible for the majority of photosynthesis.
Euphorbia ingens vs Euphorbia candelabrum
Euphorbia ingens is very similar to another plant called Euphorbia candelabrum.
Due to the fact that they have similar appearances and attributes, it is easy to get these two types of plants mixed up with one another.
They are completely different plants. Euphorbia candelabrum is mainly found in the eastern and northeastern parts of Africa, whereas Euphorbia ingens is found mainly in the southern part of Africa.
Like other euphorbia plants, Euphorbia ingens is also toxic. Its milky latex can be highly toxic and a hazardous irritant.
Despite the recognized toxicity, the Candelabra tree has been used by humans for medicine and hunting; the branches are used as a fish poison.
So, it is important to keep it out of the reach of children and animals.
Euphorbia Ingens Candelabra Tree Care
Candelabra trees are hardy plants that do well with little care, making them easy for most gardeners. They need very little attention once they are mature.
The number one care tip is not to overwater them as they are quite drought-resistant.
Temperature and Climate
Euphorbia ingens can tolerate high temperatures and dry environments.
It can grow almost anywhere but prefers climates such as USDA hardiness zones 8, 9a, and 10.
Temperature-wise, they like temperatures of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
In contrast, it is not cold-hardy and will not survive well in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low humidity is preferable for Candelabra trees. They can survive long droughts as they are native and accustomed to semi-savannas.
With that said, they can handle high humidity. However, don’t overwater when the humidity is high.
They will become overwatered and it can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.
If you expect to keep them in a highly humid room, just make sure there is good air circulation.
Euphorbia ingens prefers bright, direct sunlight. Try to plant it somewhere in the landscaping where it gets at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sun.
If you have it indoors, try to have it in a south-facing window so it gets enough light.
Lastly, it can still grow and tolerate indirect sun or partial shade, but full sun is definitely best.
Water your Euphorbia ingens either once every two weeks or whenever the top couple inches of soil feels completely dry. In fact, it can handle long periods of drought if needed.
When you water your Candelabra tree, give it enough water so that excess water comes out of the drainage holes.
If you have a planter saucer underneath the pot, make sure to empty the excess water so that your plant is not sitting in the drained water.
When the winter season rolls around, the plant is dormant, so watering it once a month is probably all it needs.
Lastly, Euphorbia ingens, like all other euphorbia plants, is easily susceptible to overwatering. As mentioned before, it is important to allow the soil to dry out fully between each watering session.
Furthermore, if you live in a very humid place, do not use the “soak and dry” method.
The soil in humid conditions takes so much more time to dry out. Rather, the plant will actually absorb the moisture from the humid air.
Euphorbia ingens prefers well-draining soil.
If you are keeping the plant indoors as a houseplant, the best advice we can give you is to use soil that is designed specifically for succulents.
These premixed soils are well-draining and pH-balanced for succulents.
Alternatively, you can make your own succulent soil by mixing two parts of coarse sandy soil, one part peat moss, and one part loam.
In addition, add a little soil amendment like perlite if your DIY soil is not draining fast enough.
When Euphorbia ingens is in its growing season, it can benefit from a light fertilizer at the beginning of the season. The fertilizer will aid in its healthy development.
Use a balanced 10-10-10 formula and dilute it to half strength.
Most people will say to use a liquid or soluble fertilizer, but we prefer to use these self-fertilizing pellets.
We personally use this slow-release fertilizer because one application lasts for months! It slowly dissolves into the soil on its own, so there’s no worry about over-fertilizing. Plus, it’s specifically designed for succulents.
- LIGHT APPLICATIONS - A balanced mix of essential nutrients with low NPK...
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Euphorbia ingens has few pests because of its toxic latex.
But, in the wild, these plants are affected by weevils and beetles. 
However, since we are talking about domesticating these plants indoors or for landscaping purposes, they will be next to other plants.
Common plant insects, such as spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs, can potentially harm Euphorbia ingens plants.
These pests will feed on the plants and weaken them, and if the infestation gets bad enough, they may eventually kill them.
Pests multiply quickly, so you’ll need to treat any pest infestation immediately.
The best prevention is to have a healthy plant and not overwater it. Overwatering provides a perfect environment for pests to lay their eggs.
If you notice any pests, wipe them off with rubbing alcohol, followed by a natural insecticide like Neem oil.
If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, may we suggest this particular Neem oil spray? It’s nothing fancy, but we’ve used it on our pest infestations and it simply works. Note: Neem oil, for some people, has a very pungent smell.
- INSECT KILLER: Controls Aphids, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Fruit Flies,...
- DISEASE CONTROL: Fungicide controls Blackspot, Rust, Powdery Mildew, and...
- USE ON: For use on Roses, Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables and Shrubs
Euphorbia ingens is vulnerable to various diseases, like fungal and bacterial infections.
In any case of plant disease, you need to isolate your infected plant as soon as possible. Plant diseases are very contagious and can be transmitted to other nearby plants.
Let’s briefly discuss some of the most common, such as powdery mildew and leaf spots.
Powdery mildew is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves of the Candelabra Tree.
This assault results in a white granular substance covering the surface of the leaves. Fungicides are an effective method for treating powdery mildew.
However, treatment must be initiated as quickly as possible to prevent the disease from spreading.
This species is susceptible to bacterial infections, such as leaf spot, because it cannot tolerate even a small amount of wetness.
When the leaves of your Euphorbia ingens begin to turn yellow, which is an indication that it has the disease, you will know that it has the sickness.
To save the plant from dying, remove the affected portion of the plant and keep the leaves from receiving an excessive amount of water.
When the Euphorbia ingens cactus becomes top-heavy, you can repot it to give weight to the base of the plant by moving it to a larger pot.
It is important to remember, when repotting your plants, to use a pot that is only slightly bigger than the previous one.
It is a good idea to repot only during the growing season. Remember to use well-draining soil that is specifically designed for succulents and cacti.
The one succulent soil that we always rely on is this succulent soil. We like it because our succulents seem to thrive in it.
- Imported from Canada, contains 100% organic ingredients, light-weight soil,...
- The soil contains 75% natural substrate and 25% perlite, Our formula can...
- The soil feature has good perviousness. rhizome breathability, well...
The easiest method for propagating Euphorbia ingens is to use stem cuttings and plant them in a seed or cactus pot mix.
To get the plant off to a good start, first, remove a few of the plant’s stems using either a clean knife or a pair of garden shears.
When working with fresh cuttings, it is best to wear gloves because the cuttings may exude a white sap that can irritate the skin.
Letting the cut stem dry out overnight and using a rooting hormone will both increase the likelihood that the cutting will successfully root.
Keep a little bit of moisture in the growing medium while the cutting begins to sprout roots.
If you fail to propagate your plant, consider using a rooting hormone (rooting powder) as it will help stimulate the plant to begin rooting.
If you’re looking at rooting hormones for the first time, try this rooting hormone. We’ve used it in the past, and for us, it seems to work very well because roots sprout every time.
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To prune the Candelabra Tree, use a knife or sharp pruning shears to remove cuttings from around the branch point.
You need to be careful because the Euphorbia ingens has a toxic milky latex that can be a skin irritant. Either wear gloves or stay close to running water.
Once cut, the plant will spew out its toxic milky latex. To remove the milky latex, hold it under a stream of cold water and keep it there for a while.
The cut should be allowed to dry for around two weeks. A callus will develop on the ends that have been cut.
Euphorbia ingens is a great plant for any home garden-indoors or outdoors.
It can thrive in most conditions as long as you do not overwater it and give it a lot of sunlight.
If you want to start new plants from an existing one, propagating it is easy by snipping a piece of the stem.
With just a little bit of attention and maintenance, Euphorbia ingens can become a magnificent asset to any garden or landscape.
Lastly, remember it is toxic if the milky sap gets on your skin so keep it out of reach of children and pets.
Other Euphorbia Plants
Euphorbia ingens is just one of many Euphorbia species you can grow in your home gardens. Take a look at other plants that you might like:
Euphorbia Milii: The plant, infamously known as the “Crown of Thorns,” is known for its vivid and dark red flowers. According to folklore, Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns crafted from this plant. Consequently, some call it the Christ Plant or Christ Thorn. It comes in numerous varieties and maybe grown both indoors and outdoors in warm areas.
Euphorbia Trigona: This plant is known by several names, including African Milk Tree, Cathedral Cactus, and Candelabra Cactus. It is a vertically growing plant that does not spread wider than its base, making it a good choice for landscaping in hotter climates.
Euphorbia Tirucalli: The Pencil Tree (or Pencil Cactus) is a shrub (some say small tree) with pencil-thick, smooth, succulent branches that can grow up to 40 feet tall in the wild. Although it is typically used in landscaping, it can be clipped and cultivated as a houseplant. It has lovely golden blossoms, but its sap is milky, caustic, and toxic, and can cause temporary blindness.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.