Houseplant of the week: Euphorbia ingens

Houseplant of the week: Euphorbia ingens

Why will I love it?
A fast-growing, easy-care statement plant, this non-spiky cactus lookalike is, in fact, a succulent (the difference is that cacti have virtually no leaves; all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti). It has a vivid green, chunky stem and upward-branching arms like many cacti, but grows faster than cacti and can reach up to two metres indoors. Best of all, it lacks the high price tag of many cacti.

Light or shade?
It loves bright, direct sunlight.

Where should I put it?
By a south-facing window, on the floor, a plant stand or a side table.

How do I keep it alive?
Water and feed in spring and summer, allowing the compost to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering and stop feeding from early autumn to early spring. It needs dry air and warm temperatures, so avoid rooms below 10C, which can cause brown scarring and eventually kill the plant.

Did you know…
Euphorbias contain a white sap that was used to purge, or cleanse, the system, hence the plant’s common name: spurge. It is toxic to animals and humans when ingested, and irritating to skin and, especially, eyes. So if you get any on your hands, wash them immediately with soap and water.