Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Pencil Cactus is growing in the wrong direction

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3
Views: 2114, Replies: 55 » Jump to the end
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 26, 2018 11:57 PM CST
My Pencil Cactus, Euphorbia tirucalli was growing this way when I purchased it. It spent the summer (about 50 days) outside where I hoped it would become a little more vertical. Is this normal? I just think of these plants as upright.

Is there anything I can do to encourage it to stand up.

I did have it staked a bit with some velcor plant ties but it just looked uncomfortable. I like it too much to risk hurting it. Maybe it just wants to live in a hanging basket!
Thanks in advance.

Laurie b

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jan 27, 2018 1:05 AM CST
I'm confused. You bought it because you liked its look and ever since you brought it home, you've been trying to change it? Confused
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
Jan 27, 2018 7:04 AM CST
Really difficult to keep upright if it has to come inside part of the year. Periodically trim off the parts not going in the right direction.
Thumb of 2018-01-27/purpleinopp/24bbe0

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 27, 2018 7:35 AM CST
Well of course not. Do you know anyone who does that? Confused

Succulents have not been available up in Washington until the succulent plant craze finally travelled up north to us. I have only run across mature Pencil Cactus. I imagined the slender soft growth on this tiny one, would get stiffer with age.
I rather like the way it looks and grows a lot. I just don't know if the way it looks is just unusual or if it is an issue that could threaten the plant as it puts on more growth
I just want to know if this is healthy, and if not what is causing it so I can help it.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
Image
mcvansoest
Jan 27, 2018 10:05 AM CST
Until it develops somewhat of a trunk it is going to be really bushy. Once it has that it is also easier to prune. These do need a lot of light to look their best as well, otherwise they become floppy.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Jan 27, 2018 10:27 AM CST

Moderator

They also make a pretty dangerous white sap that oozes from any cuts you might make, so be sure to do any pruning with gloves and plenty of precaution not to touch that sap wth bare skin.

And for what it's worth, this plant is not a cactus, or even closely related to a cactus, so that common name is really an unfortunate misnomer. It conceals the fact that this is a Euphorbia which produces sap under pressure (like other Euphorbias), and that sap can cause severe irritation or worse (like other Euphorbias) but in a particularly hazardous way.

Also for what it's worth, from the standpoint of perspective, the main stem of this plant is a rather stout trunk when it grows up, though the tip growth remains pencil-like. These plants are sensitive to cold and only develop good form in strong light, so they are not for everyone. Pruning can only somewhat temporarily correct bad form.

Here, where it never gets cold, E. tirucalli reaches tree size and shape. You can barely tell they are succulent from a distance if you don't know what they are.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 27, 2018 11:04 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1629239 (6)
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 28, 2018 1:26 AM CST
Ahhh, I did not know that Tiffany. Thank you. Well, I am going to make this lil guy look good one way or another. I do have one sliding glass door with hot southern sun year round. I feel like my sun worshipers are happier here than under my lights.. Would the artificial lights in a room with northern exposure be the better choice.
I will give this little succulent my all, thru the summer, and if I have more floppiness after it comes back inside next fall, I will be offering him up to someone who has the sun to give him what he needs. There is no point to torturing a plant to an early death in my moldy climate.

Disappointed, because I just love it. Very grateful for the info.

Laurie b
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
Jan 28, 2018 6:57 AM CST
I don't have any experience with lights beyond shop lights in my basement a couple decades ago, so can't advise about the light.

If this plant can stay upright with the conditions I've had available to provide, others should be able to too. If left untrimmed, mine would have much more leaning/dangling mass than upright. But I have trimmed it often, removing stems that do not point up. The primary trunk will get bigger and stronger with age, and removing those leaning stems helps keep them from causing the trunk to lean.

Since getting this plant in 2013,
Thumb of 2018-01-28/purpleinopp/359e8e

a LOT of stems have been removed. These excess plants have not been groomed to maintain an upright stature, or given the most prime light-spots for winter, so they have a more spherical, relaxed habit.


This rectangle pot in the last pic does not hold all of the removed stems, I've given/traded a lot away and have used many of them as temporary decoration in mini gardens where they were left to succumb to the cold. This plant grows very quickly!

Even if upright-ness becomes an unattainable goal, I don't think leaning/dangling would cause its' health to be compromised. The wild colors might not manifest, but many plants kept in the captivity of a pot don't have the same type of appearance as an outside counterpart. If it just won't stand up, and you like it, nothing else matters. I don't dislike my non-upright specimens any less than the one I'm trying to keep upright, and probably shouldn't have posted yesterday since I wasn't in the mood to add this extra info for some reason. Sorry if I sounded alarmist.

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 29, 2018 1:59 AM CST
Hi @purpleinopp.
TIffany, It is sometime a real curse to have an empathetic soul! Your first post was perfect, and gave me more hope than I was feeling before you wrote in. I do appreciate the added info a lot though. Thank you.

I think I had a little case of being sick of rain and cold and coats and boots and mud. Grumbling And so I pouted about my limp cactus too. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing I did do a bit of pruning today. I think it will be fun to see if I can get an almost oak tree like shape out of him. Thanks.

Oops, adding your plants are great.

Laurie b
[Last edited by lauriebasler - Jan 29, 2018 2:01 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1630458 (9)
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
purpleinopp
Jan 31, 2018 5:06 PM CST
LOL! We were both "in a mood." It happens. :+)

That's what I want mine to look like too, the one that's alone in the clay pot, a tree. I have no idea if it will happen, but I'm doing what I can. @plantladylin 's plant is my plant's hero:


Have you brought this inside over the years for winter, Lin, or able to leave it out?
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Jan 31, 2018 5:55 PM CST
Laurie. Laurie. Laurie !
Dont frett ! 👍😀
Prune the heck, out of it. Ya ain't gonna hurt it. Anything that aint growing up, cut off. Make it grow up. You will hurry up the process. 👍

Sooo 😀 wack freely.
It works !

Latter, my friend. I tip my hat to you.
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Image
lauriebasler
Jan 31, 2018 10:45 PM CST
Gracias, Philip! I will do that.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Feb 1, 2018 11:48 AM CST

Moderator

A tree in the neighborhood to go along with all the other pics... closeup of a branch shows the new growth in day-long sun (stem visible in shadow at lower left in the second picture).

Thumb of 2018-02-01/Baja_Costero/ba7d7f Thumb of 2018-02-01/Baja_Costero/2f22e0
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Feb 1, 2018 6:57 PM CST
I've never seen any that mature and beautiful, Baja! Those are really awesome! I've seen some large ones in AZ, but never anything like your photos.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Feb 1, 2018 7:18 PM CST

Moderator

Our climate allows these plants to grow long term in the ground. There is a bigger tree (like 30-40 feet tall) near here. They do get properly huge given time.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Feb 1, 2018 9:00 PM CST
That's pretty amazing. Thumbs up
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Feb 1, 2018 9:24 PM CST

Moderator

Here's a tree in the Huntington Gardens (with some storm damage, evidently) which generates some shade.

Thumb of 2018-02-02/Baja_Costero/0b3d82 Thumb of 2018-02-02/Baja_Costero/cf7983
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
Image
pod
Feb 1, 2018 10:06 PM CST
Wow, I love these photos showing how magnificent Euphorbia tirucalli can become. Mine looks anemic. It stands about 5 feet tall with few branches. I need to learn to shape it.
Thanks for sharing those photos, Baja.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Feb 1, 2018 10:09 PM CST
I have a very old one in Phoenix, and it's all of 3 ft tall. I've never pruned it. I wonder why mine has been so slow growing? It's under a pergola with shade cloth. Maybe it needs more full sun?
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Feb 2, 2018 11:06 AM CST
Boy, oh boy, there Baja. Wow !😮! I've seen some of those , what I thought were trees, but I had no ideal, that they were pencil catus !
Does anyone know there frost, or cold tolerance ?
Thank You 👍
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

Page 1 of 3 • 1 2 3

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Cactus and Tender Succulents forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by plantmanager and is called "Blue My Mind"