The Candelabra Tree Makes a Big Impact

The Candelabra Tree, Euphorbia ingens, is native to Africa. The cactus is also referred to as the African Candelabra Tree, Cowboy Cactus, and Good Luck Cactus. The Candelabra Tree is often an outdoor plant, but can be grown as an indoor cactus as well.

Euphorbia ingens

Candelabra Tree Appearance

Candelabra Trees reach a height of between 36 to 49 feet (12 to 15 meters) when grown outdoors but top out much shorter when grown as a houseplant.

On larger cacti the branches begin about 3 feet from the ground. The plant will grow several stems producing sharp spikes.

Blooms appear during fall and winter producing greenish-yellow flowers resembling a three-lobed capsule. 

Candelabra Tree Light Requirements

Grow the African Candelabra Tree in full sun in a south-facing window for optimal growth. East or west-facing windows are also acceptable provided it receives several hours of sunlight per day. If moving the cactus outdoors, choose a sunny location, preferably sheltered from strong winds which may topple the plant if grown in a pot.

Water Needs

The Candelabra Tree is a drought tolerant plant with water-storing abilities.  Water during spring and summer once every two weeks or once the soil feels dry. Use a moisture meter inserted into the soil if in doubt. Due to the plant’s moisture retention it is better to be underwater than overwater.  Decrease watering beginning in fall and continue reducing waterings in the winter to occasional or none until early spring.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and Humidity

As it is considered a desert cactus, the African Candelabra Tree prefers high temperatures and low humidity. Keep temperatures between 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 28 degrees Celsius). Do not provide additional humidity as this may lead to disease. In humid climates, use a dehumidifier to reduce air moisture when possible. Candelabra trees are not frost tolerant and, if grown outside, need to be brought indoors once temperatures begin to cool in the fall. 

Soil and Fertilizer

Grow your Candelabra Tree in a fast-draining soil of two parts coarse sand, one part peat moss, and one part loam. If buying pre-mixed soil, opt for a cactus or succulent soil. For added drainage, place a layer of fine gravel at the bottom of the plant’s pot before filling it with soil. This hastens moisture drainage and protects root health. The Candelabra Tree is a light feeder requiring a 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer, diluted to half strength. Feed once in the spring to aid with growth throughout the spring and summer. 

Candelabra Tree Propagation

Please note the milky, latex-based sap of this cactus is both poisonous and a strong irritant. Keep this plant away from children and pets, and do not allow contact with its sap. 

Propagate the African Candelabra Tree by cuttings taken from a side branch of a mature plant. Wear protective gloves, clothing, and eye protection to avoid contact with the sap. Use a sharp and sterile knife to cut 8 inches (20 cm) long. Place the cut end of the branch under running water until the sap oozing ceases. Allow the cutting to sit, out of reach of children or animals, for two weeks to form a callus. Plant the cutting, callus side down, in a cactus soil mixture or your own well-draining soil mix. Place the cutting in a sunny location and mist regularly until new growth starts.

Candelabra Tree Pests and Diseases
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Candelabra Tree Pests and Diseases

Due to the poisonous sap within the African Candelabra Trees it is not susceptible to infestations from pests. The most common issue with this cactus is root rot from overwatering. If root rot is suspected, trim away dark or mushy roots on smaller plants and repot in fresh soil. Ensure you wear protective gloves to protect your hands from the thorns and toxic sap. For larger plants that are not easily removed from their pot, mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and pour the liquid into the plant’s dry soil. This helps kill the bacteria causing the root rot.

The Candelabra Tree is an impressive cactus with a classic appearance. Though its toxic, latex sap makes it unsuitable for some households, it lends an authentic vibe to south-western decor. If handled with care it makes an excellent addition to your houseplant collection. 

Candelabra Tree FAQ

Is the Candelabra Tree Toxic?

It is worth mentioning again that, yes, this cacti’s latex sap is extremely toxic if ingested and a severe irritant when it comes in contact with skin or eyes. Alway wear protective gear when handling this cactus and keep it away from pets and children.

How Long Does it Take a Candelabra Tree to Reach Full Height?

It can take up to 20 years for a Candelabra Tree to reach its mature height.

Do the Flowers of the Candelabra Tree Have Fragrance?

No, neither the flowers or plant itself give off any scent but they still attract pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and insects.

When Should I Repot My African Candelabra Tree?

Repot the cactus once it has outgrown its pot. Spring and summer are the best times. Always ensure you wear protective gloves and clothing when handling this plant.

Are Candelabra Trees Difficult to Grow?

No, the Candelabra Tree has minimal requirements to thrive. Provide the recommended heat, humidity, and water sparingly. 

Cindy McKie
About Cindy McKie
Cindy McKie provides helpful, easy-to-follow care guides for plant lovers of all experience levels. She has written for several online gardening publications and has self-published her own guide to growing herbs under the pen name Sophia Darby. When not writing about plants, she can be found in her gardens or reading a good book.

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