Coral Cactus – Things to Know About This Succulent: Tips, Care & Much More

The Coral Catus plant is a unique succulent that belongs to the Euphorbia genus which is a large family of over 2000 succulent plants. The coral cactus is not a cactus but a very special species in the genus as it is a combination of two species, i.e., Euphorbia Lactea, and Euphorbia Neriifolia. The unique combination makes it a little complex to understand the plant species. The lower part of the plant is Euphorbia Neriifolia which looks like cactus except for oval and wide leaves. From the top, the plant is Euphorbia Lactea ‘Cristata’, which has rippled large fan-shaped like leaves.

Coral Cactus

The coral cactus leaves are crinkled from the edges and appear in different hues of purple, green, yellow, red, or white. Rarely you will witness the coral cactus flower and even if it blooms, the flowers are not much to look for but appear in pink or purple colors. Also, the sap of the plant is poisonous and the white and thick sap can cause skin irritation, eye irritation, nausea, and vomiting if ingested. Take a look at some facts to know this plant better.

Some Facts about Coral Cactus

  • Common Name: Coral cactus, candelabra plant, crested candelabra plant
  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia Neriifolia base, Euphorbia Lactea crest
  • Country of Origin: Native to Africa and further developed in Thailand to gain unique colors and crest
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Blooming Season: Spring & Summers
  • Maximum Height: 9-15 inches tall
  • Toxicity: Toxic to Pets and Children
  • Diseases & Pests: Fungal Rools, Root Rot, Powdery Mildew, mealy Bugs, Spider Mites

How to Care for Coral Cactus?

  • Soil: Just like every other succulent out there, the coral cactus succulent requires well-draining soil for growth. The simple cactus soil mix works well for the plant and added organic matter mixed in the soil makes it even more nutritious. The coral cactus plant is not picky about the soil pH levels, therefore the soil levels can range from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. Users can also make their own soil mix by adding together the regular potting soil, perlite, and coarse sand.
  • Water: Unlike other cactus species that can tolerate drought-like situations, the watering conditions for coral cactus are a little trickier. The plant never likes to be in soggy soil either. Overwatered conditions can cause problems like root rot whereas underwatered coral cactus could look droopy, and it may cause damage to the crest. When the top two to four inches of the soil looks dry, this is the time when the plant wants a watering session. Typically, during the growing season of spring and summer, the plant requires frequent watering. However, during the dormant season, the users can reduce the water frequency.
  • Light: The coral cactus plant can in grown both indoors and outdoors. The plant thrives best when it received partial sunlight but enough warmth from the sun. Direct UV rays of the sun may cause sunburn to the plant. If you are living in hot conditions and planting the plant outside, make sure you provide shade to the plant to avoid direct sun rays. When grown indoors, opt for a place, preferably a south-facing window where it can receive partial sunlight for at least 3-5 hours every day. 
  • Temperature: The coral cactus plant is not at all freeze friendly and prefers temperatures about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are living in cold regions where temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, plant it indoors only. The frost can damage the fragile tissues of the plant and the plant might get killed. Your coral cactus plant thrives well even in humid conditions with good airflow.
  • Fertilizer: During the growing season, which is spring and summer, the plant must be fertilized with 10-10-10 liquid fertilizers on a regular basis. Fertilize the plant every two weeks; the frequency may be less if it has rich soil. Always remember that you do not fertilize the plant off-season which is fall and winter as it may not need the additional nutrients. Also, try to avoid slow-release fertilizers as they can get against the rootstock of your plant and can cause burns.

Some Popular Varieties

  • Rhipsalis coral cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula): One of the few Rhipsalis species, Rhipsalis cereuscula, produces an extremely wild bush of branches with long tendrils standing up straight in the air. The branches are often light green in texture and exhibit a highly distinctive appearance, reflecting numerous tiny limbs that come together to form one stem.
  • Euphorbia coral cactus (Euphorbia Lactea Cristata): A distinctive-looking succulent, Euphorbia Lactea ‘Cristata’ has fan-shaped limbs that develop in an almost undulating fashion. The stem and branches come in various hues, including silver, blue-grey, and vivid green. The wavy branches’ edges might even take on a pink color under stress.
  • Red coral cactus (Euphorbia Lactea ‘Cristata Rubra’): The leaves on the green base of Euphorbia Lactea Cristata Rubra are its main feature. gradually become yellow and disappear. The plant does well inside and ought to be kept in a portion of the shade. Keep the soil moist during the summer, and only perform upkeep on the plant during the winter.
  • Opuntia Microdasys Cristata: Due to its unique appearance, collectors love the Opuntia microdasys Cristata. The plant, which is indigenous to Mexico, does best in full to partial sunlight.

How To Care For Plant Around Children & Pets?

  • Caring Tips Around Children: As the sap of the plant is toxic it is advised to keep it out of the reach of small children. Hang the plants so that small children have no access to that height. Also, if you are handling the plant, make sure that you wear gloves to keep your hands safe from the toxic sap. 
  • Caring Tips Around Pets: The pets have no idea about the toxicity of the plant and sometimes even if you put the plant hanged, pets can reach that height as well. So, to keep the pets away from the plant, you can sprinkle vinegar over the plant to keep the pets away. The strong smell of vinegar acts as a repellent and keeps them away.

How To Protect Against Common Diseases?

  • Insects/pests: Mealybugs and spider mites might stick to the plant and damage it. You can use 1 part of rubbing alcohol, and 7 parts of water as a solution to keep the insects away from your plant.
  • Rotting: If the root rot has already there, it is less possible to treat the plant. However, if the root rot has happened due to cold conditions, you might save the plant by cutting off the affected parts.
  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery Mildew occurs during humid conditions. This condition can lead to fungicides that can harm the leaves. Use one tablespoon of baking soda, dilute it in one gallon of water and treat the plant’s surface.

Quick Caring Tips

  • Bury the shrub no deeper than its roots. It prevents rot and benefits the euphorbia.
  • The plant can survive in a dry setting. Put the plant in an area with warm, bright, but indirect sunlight to artificially enhance this.
  • As soon as you bring the plant home, it needs to be re-potted since the ceramic vessel it came in from the store is typically not ideal for the plant’s growth.
  • This plant is hardy in zones 10 and 11, so grow it appropriately.
  • Apply fertilizers diluted solutions once during the spring and once during the fall.
  • Turn the plant’s face that faces the sun on a regular basis. This stops the plant from developing unevenly.
  • The best coral cactus propagation method is by using stem cuttings during the spring season that should be dried out before potting.

Overall, the Coral cactus could be a good houseplant or a plant for your outdoor garden if you are willing to take the necessary precautions. Also, the coral cactus’s lifespan is around 10 years which is why it makes it a good fit for all people who wants to have a unique succulent at home. Make sure you keep it away from your pets and children.

Also, take go through regular checkups of your plant, coral cactus brown spots mean that the plant is underwatered while overwatering can cause root rot. Having a coral cactus at home could be a very unique addition to your plant collection and indeed it is a good conversation starter as well. The plant is easy to take care of and there is nothing to stress about when it comes to special requirements.


Q1: Why is my coral cactus is turning Brown?

If you see that the leaves are turning brown, it might be the root rot sets in.

Q2: How to know if the coral cactus plant is dying?

Few signs like discoloration and wilting or sagging are the main signs that indicate the coral cactus is dying.

Q3: What is the best place for a coral cactus at home?

Typically a south-facing window where enough warmth and sunlight comes every day could be the best spot for your plant.

By Greenkosh