My Euphorbia trigona rubra was growing like a weed and needed a bigger base to keep it in proportion. It’s not that the roots were showing or coming out of the drain holes but those stems sure were were getting taller and heavy. This is all about repotting a Euphorbia trigona including the mix to use, a useful trick and things good to know.
I’m transplanting a Euphorbia trigona rubra (I’ve also seen it labeled as red or royal red) but all of this applies to the Euphorbia trigona (which is solid green) and other varieties also. The common name for this popular succulent is African Milk Tree because of the milky sap that oozes out of it when broken or cut. Mine that you see here looks a little lack luster right now because it’s coming out of its semi-dormant winter state and is losing its leaves.
HEAD’S UP: I’ve done this general guide to repotting plants geared for beginning gardeners which you’ll find helpful.
Best time for repotting a Euphorbia trigona
Spring or summer are the best times. I transplanted this 1 on March 4 but I live in Tucson, AZ. The temps have already warmed & the days are getting longer.
This plant is deciduous & sheds its leaves in the winter. New leaves will soon appear. You’ll notice mine is shedding too.
Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:
- Guide To Watering Indoor Plants
- Beginner’s Guide To Repotting Plants
- 3 Ways To Successfully Fertilize Indoor Plants
- How to Clean Houseplants
- Winter Houseplant Care Guide
- Plant Humidity: How I Increase Humidity For Houseplants
- Buying Houseplants: 14 Tips For Indoor Gardening Newbies
- 11 Pet-Friendly Houseplants
Succulent & cactus mix
Compost & Worm Compost
This is my favorite amendment, which I use sparingly because it’s rich. I’m currently using Worm Gold Plus.
Knife & Twine
Not the best picture, but you’ll get the idea as to how I tied my
Steps to repotting a Euphorbia trigona:
Here’s the best trick to know when working with this succulent: Tie it up in multiple places
This is the step I started with. My rubra isn’t that tall so I tied it in 3 places; top, middle & bottom. This keeps those heavy stems from flip flopping over & possibly breaking when you do the transplanting/repotting.
Run a dull knife around the circumference deep inside the pot to loosen the root ball
Carefully lie the plant on its side & pull the pot away
The drain hole of the ceramic pot I was transplanting into is large so I covered it with a coffee filter
Fill the pot with enough succulent & cactus mix so when you place the plant in, the root ball is slightly above the rim of the pot
Fill in around the root ball with succulent & cactus mix
The root ball of my plant was on the smallish side so I pressed down around it to help hold the heavy stems up.
I topped it with a thin layer of worm compost & placed in back in my kitchen.
This video shows the steps:
Since I filmed the video, 1 stem fell out of the pot & snapped at the base (propagation post coming soon!). I staked up another stem which looked like it might fall out & loosely tied all the stems together around the middle. I wanted to tell you this as a warning that you may have to stake & tie yours up too while it’s rooting in.
The Euphorbia trigona is back in its spot in my kitchen. It’s 4′ away from a sliding glass & 8′ away from a skylight getting lots of bright, natural light but no direct sun. I’m letting it settle in for at least 2 weeks before I thoroughly water it. The root ball was a bit damp & the temps aren’t climbing above 75F yet so that’ll be fine.
I’ll top it with a 1/4 – 1/2″ layer of compost once the mix starts to sink a bit (due to the weight of the stems). I’ll be doing a care post & video on Euphorbia trigona within the next few months so stay tuned for that.
Here you can see those tiny thorns.
Good To Know
I’m starting with this 1 because it’s important.
Be careful in regards to the sap. It’s considered to be toxic & could be irritating
The mix needs to be well drained – this is very important
Tie up the stems up when you’re doing the repotting
I used jute twine but ribbon or a thin rope would work also. Those heavy stems easily fall over, especially when they get taller.
trigona needs a good base not only to hold the stems up but because it looks better.
This plant has tiny thorns. They won’t rip your hand open but be mindful of them.
An established plant with many stems will weigh a lot. You’ll need a set of extra hands to help you out with the repotting.
You may need to stake your plant after the repotting. I ended up staking 1 of the stems & tying it up in the middle.
My Euphorbia trigona grows as a houseplant but it can be grown outdoors year round in temperate climates. If you’re in a hot, dry climate like I am, then I’d recommend adding a bit of potting soil to the mix.
My plant after the repotting. This is before the stem fell out & I staked & tied it.
When will I repot my Euphorbia trigona again?
It’ll stay in this marigold colored ceramic pot for at least a couple of years because the root ball has plenty of room to grow. I’ll go up a 1 pot size as the plant gets taller because aesthetically it’ll need a bigger base in proportion to its height.
This is another Euphorbia
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Donna Melville says
Hi, is the ruby red milk tree a different milk tree than the green or is it that the green one is lacking sun?
Nell Foster says
Hi Donna – They are all Euphorbia trigonas. The ruby colored ones are varieties of the green one. If the red varieties are in lower light than they prefer, they’ll turn green. Nell