Coral Cactus
Plant Care,  Succulents and Cacti

Coral Cactus

Welcome to our guide to coral cactus care…

Coral Cactus Care Summary

Light needs:Bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Check weekly, water if soil is almost dry.
Fertilizer:A well diluted balanced plant fertilizer every 3 weeks in spring and summer.
Soil:A cactus and succulent compost.
Humidity:Low to medium.
Temperature:16-30°C (61-86°F).
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
Common issues:Root rot from overwatering.


The coral cactus aka euphorbia lactea, is actually a succulent, well actually it is two succulents. The top part of the plant has to be grafted on to another succulent to support it (normally euphorbia neriifolia), as the base is green and produces more energy to support the top (which are bred from genetic mutations which would die on their own). It’s a stunning plant that has ballooned in popularity recently.

See also: Fishbone Cactus, Whale Fin Plant, Snake Plant Care, Mother Of Thousands, Crassula Campfire, Tigers Jaw Succulent, Sansevieria Black Coral, Senecio Vitalis.

Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.

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Light Needs

Bright indirect sunlight is ideal, they will tolerate some early morning direct sunlight too.

How Often to Water A Coral Cactus

You should check the soil with your finger every week and water it if most of the soil is dry. They don’t want to dry out completely but mustn’t sit in soaking soil or they’ll get root rot easily. Tip out any excess water afterwards so the plant does not sit in soggy soil


You can use a balanced fertilizer, it must be well diluted to more than half of what it says on the packet. Feed it every 3 weeks in spring and summer.

Coral Cactus Soil

Use a cactus and succulent compost to give the roots plenty of drainage. You don’t want the soil to be able to hold on to water.

For more on which cactus and succulent compost to buy or how to make you own, see our guide: Succulent Soil.

When To Repot

It won’t need repotting that often, maybe every 3 years or so, but check it once a year just in case to see if the roots are crowded.


Low humidity levels are fine for this plant, they will not do well in very humid rooms. Certainly do not mist them regularly.

Coral Cactus Temperature

16-30°C (61-86°F) is ideal, don’t let them get too cold in winter and they’ll be fine.

Euphorbia Lactea Cristata Propagation

Propagation or a coral cactus requires two succulents, you take a cutting form the top part of the coral cactus, but you need another succulent to graft it on to, like euphorbia neriifolia. You need to cut the top off the euphorbia neriifolia, and the bottom off the coral cactus cutting and graft them together. Once the surfaces are touching you can tie them together, and then hopefully they should bind together within a month or so. This process is not for the feint hearted!

See also: Succulent Propagation (with pictures).

How Long Do Coral Cactus Live?

They can live up to 10 years.

Coral Cactus USDA Zone

Zones 10-11.

Other Names

Euphorbia lactea, euphorbia lactea cristata, crested euphorbia, candelabra plant.

Where To Buy

Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.

For more on succulents and cacti, see our succulents category with all our care guides.

Coral Cactus FAQs and Common Problems

A big issue with coral cactus is over watering, make sure you only water it when the soil is almost dry and it is planted in well draining cactus and succulent soil.

Do Coral Cactus Grow If Not Grafted?

The top part of the plant cannot grow on it’s own, it cannot produce enough every to survive, so it must be grafted on to a greener plant.

Can Coral Cactus Live Outside?

They can live outside as long as they do not get prolonged cold temperatures (below 10°C or 50°F). So bring them in when temperatures drop.

Why Is Coral Cactus Grafted?

It cannot survive on it’s own as it does not have enough chlorophyll due to its coloring so it must be grafted onto a green plant that can produce energy.

Why Is My Coral Cactus Turning Pink?

Turning pink is a sign that the plant is stressed, it could be due to over or underwatering or too much or even too little sunshine.

Is Coral Cactus Poisonous To Cats?

Coral cactus is poisonous to pets if ingested, seek vets advice.

Coral Cactus Vs Mermaid Tail?

The coral cactus (euphorbia lactea cristata) is a different species to the mermaid tail cactus (crested senecio vitalis). Both are actually succulents. The mermaids tail has lots of long feathered ‘leaves’ at the top, where as the coral cactus is more spiky.

Other Articles You Might Like

Hope you liked our article, you might also like these articles: How Often – Watering Succulents, How To Propagate String Of Dolphins, Crassula Perforata (String Of Buttons).

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Coral Cactus
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