How to Propagate African Milk Trees

African milk tree is the common name for Euphorbia trigona, a rare species of succulent sometimes grown as an ornamental houseplant. It is an unusual-looking plant comprising a group of thick, upright stalks lined with short spines and crowned with slender leaves that drop off during the winter months. Like all euphorbias, African milk tree propagates easily from cuttings and will root in just a couple of weeks. However, all parts of the plant contain a mildly toxic sap, so it is best to wear gloves when handling them.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Utility knife
  • Paper towel
  • Perlite
  • Coarse sand
  • 4-inch plastic pot
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Instructions

    • 1

      Put on rubber gloves before propagating African milk trees since they exude a milky sap that can irritate your skin upon contact.

    • 2

      Measure 4 to 6 inches down from the tip of a healthy branch. Sever the branch using a utility knife with a fresh, sanitary blade.

    • 3

      Run water over the cut end of the African milk bush branch to stanch the flow of sap. Place the cutting on a sheet of paper towel in a dry spot out of direct sunlight.

    • 4

      Dry the African milk tree cutting for five to seven days, or until the cut-end looks dry, white and puckered around the edge.

    • 5

      Combine equal measures perlite and coarse sand to create a nutrient-poor rooting mixture for the African milk tree cutting. Fill the bottom half of a 4-inch plastic pot with the mixture.

    • 6

      Set the cut end of the African milk tree cutting onto the surface of the rooting mixture. Hold it upright while filling in around the base with more of the rooting mixture created in Step 5.

    • 7

      Pour 4 or 5 tablespoons of water onto the rooting mixture around the base of the African milk tree cutting. Apply the same amount of water whenever the rooting mixture feels dry 1 inch below the surface.

    • 8

      Set the pot on a windowsill with bright, filtered light and moderate air circulation. Avoid dark, stuffy areas with high humidity as the cutting will rot.

    • 9

      Check for roots in 14 to 20 days by carefully trying to lift the African milk tree cutting from the rooting mixture. Feel to determine whether the cutting seems stuck to the growing mixture by roots.

    • 10

      Transplant the African milk tree cutting into a permanent container one month after rooting. Choose a rigid plastic or ceramic container with drainage holes.

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