Exploring Firestick Plant’s Toxicity

Did you know that there’s a plant called the firestick plant or pencil cactus? It may seem harmless because of its looks, but is it actually toxic?

Well, the firestick plant comes from Africa and belongs to a family of plants called spurge, which are poisonous. Unfortunately, this means that the firestick plant is poisonous too, including every part of it. That’s why it’s not the best choice as a houseplant if you have young kids or pets.

firestick plant toxic

If you do decide to have a firestick plant, be careful when handling it. Just like other euphorbias, if the plant gets damaged, a milky-white sap comes out that can be harmful. So, it’s important to be cautious around this plant to keep yourself and others safe.

Beware of the Deceptive Firestick Plant

The firestick plant, also known as Euphorbia tirucalli, is a popular indoor plant because it’s low-maintenance and looks exotic. However, it’s important to know that this plant, like many others, can be dangerous for young children and pets.

Watch Out for the Sap!

When the firestick plant is undisturbed in its pot by the window, it doesn’t immediately cause harm with its attractive thick twigs. But to avoid skin irritation and poisoning from the milky sap, follow these safety tips:

  • Never leave kids or pets alone with a firestick plant.
  • Wear protective gloves when pruning.
  • If the sap touches your skin, wash it off with plenty of water.

Pruning a Firestick Plant

how to prune a firestick plant

During winter, the firestick plant can be pruned with less sap leakage, and applying hot water-soaked cloths can help stop the bleeding. However, since the plant grows in a disorganized manner and doesn’t have leaves, pruning is not necessary for ventilation and light.

If you want to propagate the firestick plant, take note of these steps:

  • Use mature shoots for cuttings.
  • Use clean, sharp cutting tools.
  • Cuttings should be about 12 to 15 cm long.
  • Make cuts directly below a leaf node.
  • Let the cuttings dry for 48 hours before planting them.
  • Place the cuttings in a warm and bright location, but not in direct sunlight.

Important Pruning Precautions

Since the milky sap of the firestick plant can cause serious health problems, keep children and pets away when pruning. Always wear gloves and wash off any sap immediately. Also, ensure the cuttings are stored safely, away from unsuspecting people or animals.

Pro Tip:

After pruning a dense pencil cactus, the air may contain harmful latex from the plant. To avoid any negative health effects, make sure the room is well-ventilated for the first few days after pruning.