How To: Propagate an African Milk Tree

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three African Milk Trees from One
I inherited an African Milk Tree from a friend and it's been so happy, it's grown about 2 feet! However, a four foot tall skinny cactus that sprouts toxic milk juice is sort of an apartment hazard and so recently I set about chopping it down a bit and propagating it into additional plants for more friends. These guys are sooooo low maintenance (seriously, if you water more than once every two weeks, it'll get mad at you), so I want to share the awesomeness.

'Turns out, it's pretty much the same way you propagate other succulents, just with more thorns, toxic juices, and wobbly heights. I actually should've cut these down to about 6 inches each, because as it is, the new branches they'll sprout will make them seriously top heavy. Oh well, they'll be someone else's problem then!!

It's best to do this in spring or early summer. Your plant will thank you.
  1. Supplies: Over-sized African Milk Tree, Oven mitt, Sharp scissors, Paper towel, Plant pot with dirt (optionally, you could just plant the newly cut stalks into your old pot, thereby increasing the density of your plant without the need for a second pot).
    1 Supplies: Over-sized African Milk Tree, Oven mitt, Sharp scissors, Paper towel, Plant pot with dirt
  2. Preparations: If previously cut, ensure new branches have begun sprouting from cut
    2 Preparations: If previously cut, ensure new branches have begun sprouting from cut
  3. Preparations: Be very careful transporting. The cactus will stab itself and release its semi-toxic 'milk' juices
    3 Preparations: Be very careful transporting. The cactus will stab itself and release its semi-toxic 'milk' juices
  4. Cut through stalk, using oven mitt to prevent top from dropping. The sharper the scissors/knife, the less scarring of the plant there will be.
    4 Cut through stalk, using oven mitt to prevent top from dropping
  5. Avoid touching the toxic milk juices as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently, and do not touch your face!
    5 Cut through stalk, using oven mitt to prevent top from dropping
  6. Remove cut stalk
    7 Cut through stalk, using oven mitt to prevent top from dropping
  7. Place cut stalk down while cleaning and cutting other stalks
    8 Place cut stalk down
  8. Wipe toxic milk juices off plant with damp towel. A damp towel will also help to stem the plant's bleeding.
    9 Wipe toxic milk juices off plant with damp towel
  9. Place cut stalks somewhere to dry 3-10 days, until cut end heals. Out of direct sunlight.
    10 Place cut stalks somewhere to dry 3-10 days, until cut end heals. Out of direct sunlight.
  10. Keep away from animals and children. The thorns and the toxic juices aren't exactly good for anyone.
    11 Keep away from animals and babies.
  11. After 3-10 day wait, plant cut stalks 1-2 inches into small pot. Do not water for several days. African Milk Trees have really shallow roots, and so they actually prefer really small pots, smaller than the ones I'm using to be honest.
    13 After 3-10 day wait, plant cut stalks 1-2 inches into small pot.
  12. Done!
    15 African milk trees prefer smaller pots. Smaller than these. Better to underwater than overwater.
  13. Before cutting and propagating the [original] plant again, ensure it's begun sprouting new branches at its cut (shown below). For new plants, don't propagate until they've had a bit of growth (i.e., developed some roots).
    16 New branches will sprout where the original tree was trimmed
14 Recently planted milk trees have no roots at all, so they're quite wobbly.

1 comments:

Martina said...

This is such a cool idea!!! Love it!

Related Posts with Thumbnails