Coral Cactus (Eurphorbia Lactea ‘Cristata’) : A Comprehensive Guide To Care And Cultivation

Coral Cactus (Eurphorbia Lactea 'Cristata')

Coral Cactus (Eurphorbia lactea ‘Cristata’) combines the charming characteristics of both cacti and euphorbias. This unique plant, with its coral-like appearance and vibrant colors, has become a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts and collectors.

In this article, we will discuss unique features of Coral Cactus, explore its care requirements, propagation methods, and more.

So, continue reading to tackle coral cactus since the poisonous cacti need special arrangement.

Lets Know More About Coral Cactus

Coral Cactus is a fascinating succulent hybrid that showcases an intricate cresting growth pattern. The pattern resembles the branching structure of coral reefs.

It is a hybrid between the Euphorbia lactea and Euphorbia neriifolia species.

The plant features thick, fleshy stems that resemble coral branches or a zigzagging cactus.

It has small, oval-shaped spines along its ridges. The plant can grow up to 2 to 3 feet, making it a visually appealing centerpiece in a garden.

Overview of Coral Cactus (Eurphorbia lactea ‘Cristata’)

Coral Cactus boasts several unique features, and its history and classification contribute to its charm.

Growth PatternCresting growth pattern resembling coral formations.
Color VariationVibrant green with occasional pink or yellow accents.
HistoryHybrid developed from Euphorbia lactea, combining its traits.
ClassificationBelongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and Euphorbia genus.
ShapeBranching structure with crested segments.
CharacteristicsSucculent nature with modified leaves for water storage.
AdaptabilityThrives in well-draining soil and prefers bright, indirect light.
Growth RateSlow-growing plant that can reach moderate heights over time.
Container GardeningIdeal for indoor containers due to its manageable size.
Decorative UseAdds a touch of uniqueness to succulent arrangements and displays.
Overview of Coral Cactus (Eurphorbia lactea 'Cristata')

How to Identify a Coral Cactus

Identifying a Coral Cactus is relatively easy once you know what to look for. Here are a few key characteristics to help you in the identification process:

ShapeDistinct zigzag branching, reminiscent of coral reef formations.
ColorsVariations of vibrant green, white, pink, or orange on stems and ridges.
FlowersSmall, inconspicuous green or yellow flowers in clusters along stems.
SizeFully grown size of 2 to 3 feet in both height and width, with slow growth.


One of the most striking features of a Coral Cactus is its distinct branching shape, resembling the intricate formations found in coral reefs beneath the ocean.  In fact, their likeliness of coral structure is the reason of their naming.

The stems of the plant grow in a zigzag pattern, creating an exquisite and captivating silhouette that sets it apart from other succulents.


Coral Cacti exhibit a range of color variations that add to their allure. While the base color is often vibrant green, you may also find shades of white, pink, or even orange present on the ridges of the stems.

These colors can appear in subtle streaks or as variegations, adding a touch of elegance to the plant’s appearance.


Although not the main attraction of the plant, Coral Cacti do produce small flowers. These flowers are usually green or yellow and form clusters along the ridges of the stems.

While they may not be as showy as those of other flowering plants, they contribute to the character of the Coral Cactus.


Coral Cacti can vary in size, with a fully grown specimen typically reaching a height and width of 2 to 3 feet. It’s important to note that these plants have a slow growth rate, so achieving their maximum size can take several years.

This gradual growth process only adds to the allure of caring for these unique succulents.

How to Take Care of Coral Cactus for Healthy Growth

To ensure your Coral Cactus thrives and maintains its vibrant appearance, here are some tips for its care:

How to Take Care of Coral Cactus for Healthy Growth

Choosing the Right Environment for Coral Cactus

First, place your Coral Cactus in a location that receives bright indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch its stems.

You should also maintain a consistent temperature between 60 to 85°F (15 to 29°C). You have to be careful as Coral Cactus does not tolerate extreme temperatures.

Lastly, you should provide well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A cactus or succulent mix is ideal for this purpose.

Tips for Watering and Fertilizing a Coral Cactus

You should allow the top soil to dry between watering. Overwatering can lead to Coral cactus suffer from root rot and other issues. Also, you should water sparingly during the winter months, as the plant goes into a period of dormancy.

Next, you must fertilize sparingly with a balanced cactus or succulent fertilizer during the growing season. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the correct dosage. You may use 10-5-10 fertilizer for its proper growth.

Growing Multiple Coral Cacti Together

When planting multiple Coral Cacti together, ensure they have enough space to grow without overcrowding. You can place them in a well-draining pot and position them at varying heights for visual interest.

Also, remember to provide adequate sunlight and care for each individual plant to avoid competition for resources.

How to Get Coral Cactus to Bloom

While Coral Cactus primarily focuses on its striking stems rather than flowers, it is still possible to encourage blooming. Here are a few key tips to get your Coral Cactus to bloom:

How to Get Coral Cactus to Bloom
  • Provide Sufficient Sunlight: Make sure your Coral Cactus receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Place it near a south-facing window or outdoors in a bright spot.
  • Maintain Optimal Temperature: Keep the plant in a location with temperatures between 60 to 85°F (15 to 29°C) during the growing season.
  • Adjust Watering Routine: Reduce watering during the winter months to induce a period of dormancy. This can trigger blooming when the plant comes out of dormancy.
  • Provide Slight Stress: Occasionally subject the plant to mild stress by withholding water for a short period or slightly reducing its temperature. This can mimic its natural habitat and promote blooming.
  • Avoid Over Fertilization: While fertilizing is necessary for healthy growth, over-fertilizing can inhibit blooming. Stick to a balanced cactus or succulent fertilizer and follow the recommended dosage.

Common Pests and Diseases That Can Affect a Coral Cactus:

IssueDescription and SymptomsPrevention and Treatment
MealybugsSmall, white, cotton-like pests on plant surfaces.– Use a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove them. – Apply insecticidal soap as directed.
Root RotCaused by overwatering and poorly draining soil.– Use well-draining soil mix. – Water appropriately based on the season and climate.
Powdery MildewFungal disease appears as white powdery substance on stems.– Remove affected parts.  – Use fungicidal spray for succulents.  – Improve air circulation.
SunburnResult of intense and prolonged direct sunlight exposure.– Gradually acclimate plant to brighter light.  – Provide shading during peak sunlight hours.
Common Pests and Diseases That Can Affect a Coral Cactus

How to Propagate Coral Cactus from an Existing Plant

Propagating Coral Cactus can be done by taking stem cuttings. Follow these steps to propagate your Coral Cactus:

Step 1: Select And Prepare a Healthy Stem from the Parent Plant

Choose a stem from the parent Coral Cactus that is healthy and free from any signs of disease or damage. A stem that is actively growing and has several segments is ideal for propagation.

Next, take a sharp and sterile knife or pruning shears. With it, you can carefully cut a segment of the stem. The cutting should be around 4 to 6 inches in length. Ensure that the cut is clean and without any crushing or tearing.

Step 2: Allow the Cut End to Callus and Plant It

After making the cutting, set it aside in a dry, warm location for a few days. This allows the cut end to naturally callus over. Once the cut end has formed a callus, it’s time to plant the stem cutting. Choose a well-draining soil mix suitable for succulents.

Make a small hole in the soil using your finger or a stick. Insert the calloused end of the stem cutting into the hole in the soil. The bottom segment of the cutting should be partially buried in the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to stabilize it.

Step 3: Initial Watering And Lighting

Give the planted cutting a light watering, moistening the soil around it. Avoid overwatering, as succulents are susceptible to rot if their roots stay too wet. Place the planted cutting in a location with bright, indirect light.

Avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch the cutting. A windowsill with filtered sunlight or a spot under grow lights can work well.

Step 4: Root Development and Transplanting

Over the next few weeks, the cutting will begin to develop roots. During this time, continue to water sparingly. The cutting may also start to grow new stems or branches.

Once the cutting has established a good root system and shows signs of new growth, you can consider transplanting it into a slightly larger container if desired. Follow the same care guidelines for mature Coral Cacti.

Are Coral Cacti Poisonous?

Yes, Coral Cacti are considered poisonous. Like many other Euphorbia species, Coral Cactus contains a milky white sap that can cause skin irritation and is toxic if ingested.

Are Coral Cacti Poisonous

It is important to handle the plant with caution, wearing gloves and avoiding contact with the sap. Keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent any possible ingestion.


Coral Cactus showcases a unique cresting growth pattern resembling coral reefs. With its vibrant colors and charming characteristics, it has become a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts and collectors. 

With proper care, you can ensure that your Coral Cactus thrives and maintains its stunning appearance.

Also, handle the plant with caution due to its poisonous nature and enjoy the beauty it brings to your indoor or outdoor space.

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