Get a PDF copy
Home Plant guides How to care for an African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona)

African milk tree from below

How to care for an African Milk Tree (Euphorbia Trigona)

Cacti and succulents are perfect plants for beginning plant owners because they're easy to take care of. One of the most difficult parts of taking care of plants, especially for beginners, is knowing how often to water their plants. It's quite easy to overwater your plants when you're just starting. This is especially true for cacti and succulents.

Are you a new plant owner wondering how to care for your African milk tree? Wonder no more! This plant care guide will give you all the information you need to keep your African milk tree healthy and happy. In addition to providing tips on water and light requirements, we'll also look at the best type of potting soil and how often you should fertilize it.

These are the topics we're going to look at together in this plant care guide:

  1. How much sunlight does an African Milk Tree need?
  2. How to water an African Milk Tree
  3. What is the best type of soil for an African Milk Tree?
  4. How to fertilize an African Milk Tree
  5. How to transplant an African Milk Tree
  6. What pests and diseases can affect an African Milk Tree
  7. Conclusion

How much sunlight does an African Milk Tree need?

Back to top

African milk tree in the sun Most cacti and succulents love warm and dry climates. They thrive off neglect and are true sunbathers. The same goes for the African Milk Tree!

In terms of lighting, African milk trees do best in bright, direct light. They can tolerate indirect sunlight as well, but this plant thrives in direct sunlight and loves to receive several hours of bright sun during the afternoon. If you live in a colder climate, it's best to keep your African milk tree near a bright light source, like a west- or south-facing window.

Providing enough light can be difficult in autumn and winter, depending on where you live. If your African milk tree isn't getting enough natural sunlight, you can use a grow light to help keep it happy. You can also move your Milk tree closer to a window, so it's exposed to a little bit more sunlight. During the summer this would be too much sunlight, but this is perfect during the autumn and winter.

How to water an African Milk Tree

Back to top

African milk tree size Cacti and succulents are plants that love to be neglected and prefer it when you forget about them for weeks at a time. These types of plants thrive in warm and dry climates, which means they also don't like to get watered very often.

To water your African milk tree, wait until the soil is dry to the touch. Then, water your plant thoroughly, making sure that the water drains out of the bottom of the pot. A drainage hole is very important for drought-loving plants because it removes the excess moisture from the soil. This plant will not tolerate wet feet! Allow the plant to dry out completely before watering again.

African milk trees are drought tolerant and can withstand long periods without water. No need to worry if you're away for a week! However, they will grow faster and produce more flowers if they're given a good soaking every week or two in the summer. You may need to water your African milk tree more frequently if you live in a hot, dry climate.

During the winter, you won't need to water your African Milk Tree as much, as plants slow down their growth. Be sure to check whether the soil of your Milk tree is dry before you water your plant. This will generally take a little longer during the winter. On average, you'll water your plant every 2-3 weeks.

What is the best type of soil for an African Milk Tree?

Back to top

The best type of soil for an African milk tree is loose, well-draining potting soil. You can find potting soil specifically designed for cacti and succulents at your local garden center. Be sure to avoid using garden soil or soil from outdoors, as these soils are often too dense and will not drain properly.

Instead of buying pre-mixed cactus/succulent soil, you can also choose to mix it yourself. The perfect mix for this consists of 3 parts of potting soil, 3 parts of coarse sand, and 2 parts of pumice or perlite. This creates a very well-draining potting soil that will drain the excess moisture to the bottom of the pot quickly while holding onto a little bit of moisture in the potting soil for your African Milk Tree.

How to fertilize an African Milk Tree

Back to top

African milk tree soil

African milk trees are not heavy feeders, so you don't need to fertilize them very often. Once every two or three months is usually sufficient. When you do fertilize them, there are a few options for the type of fertilizer you can use.

The best option is to use a special cactus or succulent fertilizer. You can also use a 10-10-10 fertilizer, however, this should only be used during the growing season (the spring and summer). The best type of fertilizer that I've found is a liquid fertilizer. It's very convenient because you can add it to the water you're watering your plants with. Liquid fertilizer also helps you to control the dose of fertilizer. This prevents overfertilizing.

How to transplant an African Milk Tree

Back to top

When your African milk tree starts to outgrow its pot, it's time for a transplant. Choose a new pot that is only one size larger than the current pot. If the tree is in a pot that's too large, the roots can begin to rot. Be sure to use a cactus or succulent potting mix and make sure that the pot has drainage holes.

Gently remove the tree by grasping the base and carefully pull the milk tree from its pot. Depending on the size of your milk tree, you may need someone to help you support the plant as you place it in the new pot. Once the tree has been moved, fill it with the fresh potting mix and water well.

The best time to transplant an African Milk Tree is in the spring when it has a whole growing season ahead of it. It'll make the transition much easier and helps the African Milk Tree to settle in more easily.

What pests and diseases can affect an African Milk Tree

Back to top

As with all plants, it's important to check your African milk tree for pests and diseases regularly. If you notice any problems, treat them immediately.

Pests that can affect an African milk tree include spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, or scale. If you notice any of these pests on your plant, treat them immediately with a pesticide or insecticidal soap.

If you notice any of the following signs on your African milk tree, the tree likely has pests:

  • Leaves that are wilting or browning
  • Sudden loss of leaves
  • Dead branches or shoots
  • Honeydew deposits on leaves or branches
  • Swelling or distortion of bark
  • Webbing between branches

If you're unsure about the different pests that might be affecting your African Milk Tree, it's always a good idea to take a photo of the pest and show it to the employees of your local garden store. You can also share the photo on our Facebook Page to get help from other members!

Conclusion

Back to top

African Milk Trees are beautiful plants that can add a touch of the exotic to any garden. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your tree thrives and grows healthy and strong. Share this guide with your friends and family to help them take care of their plants!

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: drought-loving, sun-loving

Posted on: Sep 24, 2022

Other common names for this plant

  • African Milk Tree
  • Euphorbia trigona

Are you ready to put your new knowledge into practice?

Get your own products from the links below and support us in our mission to help people take care of plants like this.

This page contains affiliate links. Support me and my mission by ordering through my links. Thank you!

Frequently asked questions

How long will it take for my African milk tree to flower?
Some African milk trees will flower within the first year, while others may take up to five years. Once your tree flowers, it will produce small, white flowers that last for about a week.
What kind of soil does an African Milk Tree need?
The African milk tree is not picky when it comes to soil, but it does prefer well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. If your soil is not well-drained, you can improve it by mixing in some sand or perlite.
How often should I water my African Milk Tree?
You should water your African Milk Tree when the top two inches of soil are dry. Your African milk tree will need to be watered regularly during the growing season (spring and summer), but you should still allow the soil to dry out between watering. During the winter months, you can cut back on watering, as the tree will enter a semi-dormant state.
What is the best way to fertilize my African Milk Tree?
You can fertilize your African milk tree every two weeks during the growing season using a half-strength, all-purpose fertilizer. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.
Should I prune my African Milk Tree?
Pruning is not necessary for African milk trees, but you can trim off any dead or damaged branches as needed. Also, if you want to encourage branching, you can selectively prune the tips of branches.
How much water should I give my African Milk Tree?
You should water your African Milk Tree until the water runs out of the drainage hole in the pot.

More relevant resources

You can find more relevant information about this topic here:

Pin this plant guide

More guides by Plant care for Beginners