African Milk Tree
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 15 feet
Spread: 6 feet
Hardiness Zone: 9a
Other Names: Friendship Cactus, Candelabra Cactus
An attractive, bold plant for a sunny border; narrow green foliage atop cactus-like branches that store moisture; this variety is not known to flower; a great addition to the contemporary garden; all parts of plant are poisonous
African Milk Tree has attractive green foliage. The succulent narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain green throughout the winter. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.
African Milk Tree is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen plant with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;
African Milk Tree is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
African Milk Tree will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It has a low canopy, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.
This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by cuttings.
African Milk Tree is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.