Live to Plant

How to Trim Firestick Plant:
In-depth Pruning Guide

Updated: April 20, 2022

The firestick plant (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a popular succulent that is native to Africa and Madagascar. It is also known as the pencil cactus or stick plant due to its long, thin branches that resemble pencils. The firestick plant is a hardy and low-maintenance plant that can thrive in various conditions. However, it requires occasional pruning to maintain its shape and health.

Pruning the firestick plant involves removing dead or damaged branches, controlling its size and shape, and preventing it from becoming too leggy. In this article, we will provide an in-depth guide on how to trim your firestick plant.

When to Prune Firestick Plant

You can prune your firestick plant at any time of the year, but it’s best to do it during the active growing season (spring and summer) when the plant is actively growing. Avoid pruning during the dormant season (fall and winter) as this can damage the plant.

Tools Required for Pruning Firestick Plant

Before you start pruning your firestick plant, there are some tools you’ll need:

  • Gloves: The sap from the firestick plant can cause skin irritation, so it’s essential to wear gloves when handling it.
  • Pruning shears: Use sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your pruning shears before and after use.

Steps for Trimming Firestick Plant

Follow these steps to trim your firestick plant:

  1. Assess the Plant: Start by assessing the overall health of your firestick plant. Identify any dead or damaged branches that need to be removed.

  2. Remove Dead Branches: Use your pruning shears to cut off any dead or damaged branches. Cut as close to the base of the branch as possible without damaging the main stem.

  3. Control Plant Size: If your firestick plant has become too large, you can control its size by cutting back the longest branches. Cut them off at a point where you want new growth to emerge.

  4. Shape the Plant: To shape your firestick plant, start by identifying the tallest branch and cut it back to a height that you want other branches to reach. Repeat this step with other branches until you achieve the desired shape.

  5. Prevent Legginess: To prevent your firestick plant from becoming too leggy, cut off any new growth that is emerging from the base of the plant.

  6. Clean Up: After trimming your firestick plant, clean up any debris and dispose of it properly.


How often should I prune my firestick plant?

You should prune your firestick plant once a year during the active growing season (spring or summer).

Can I propagate my firestick plant from cuttings?

Yes, you can propagate your firestick plant from cuttings. Allow the cuttings to dry for a few days before planting them in well-draining soil.

Can I use the cuttings for decoration?

Yes, firestick plant cuttings can be used for decoration. However, be cautious when handling them as they contain a toxic sap that can cause skin irritation.


Pruning your firestick plant is essential for maintaining its health and appearance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can trim your firestick plant and keep it looking its best. Remember to wear gloves, use sharp pruning shears, and disinfect your tools before and after use.