Firestick Plant Not Red: 2 Simple Solutions!

The Firestick plant, also known as Euphorbia tirucalli rosea, is a striking succulent known for its vibrant and fiery red coloration. However, some firestick plant owners notice that their plant remains green instead of turning red. 

So, why is your Firestick plant not red?

Firestick plants that do not turn red are usually due to insufficient light. Your Firestick plant needs four to eight hours of intense sunlight daily to turn red. Another reason could be overwatering, in that case, you may need to repot or replant it. You may also have a regular Pencil Cactus instead of Firesticks, as they do not have the ability to turn red at all.

In this context, we will discuss the potential reasons why a Firestick plant may not turn red and explore the best practices for making it red.  

Why Is My Firestick Plant Not Red?

There are a few reasons why a Firestick plant may not turn red and none of these indicates a disease with your beloved Firesticks.

Why Is My Firestick Plant Not Red
Source: The Downey Patriot

The table below features information on the causes, symptoms, and solutions to this issue. 

Reason  Symptoms Solutions
Insufficient Light Leggy branches Provide proper light
Overwatering Droopy stems and the plant turns gray or pale Repot or replant
Wrong Breed Won’t turn red no matter what Get a new plant

Now, let’s get to know how to solve these problems in detail.

Reason One: Insufficient Light

The Firestick plant requires bright, intense, and direct sunlight to turn red. A bright spot near a window that receives filtered light is a good location for the Firestick plant.


A lack of sunlight will cause the plant to remain green without it turning red. There is also a possibility that the plant could become leggy, meaning that the leaves will become thin and spaced out as the plant grows. In this case, the plant is reaching for more light by stretching toward the light source.

Additionally, the Firestick plant may become weak and more susceptible to disease and pest problems if it doesn’t receive enough light. This is because the light is essential for the plant to carry out photosynthesis, a process that produces energy for the plant and helps it grow strong and healthy.

Warning: Firesticks does very well under direct sunlight, however, if there is a continuous heatwave, the plant may get sunburned. When that happens, the leaves will turn brown instead of red. Just like how a Lavender turns brown. To prevent that from happening, provide some sort of shade.


If you notice that your Firestick plant is not turning red and you suspect it may be due to insufficient light, try moving the plant to a brighter location with more direct light. The plant needs at least four hours of direct sunlight every day. The optimum amount of sunlight needed for it to turn red is 8 hours. 

If you can not manage to get your Firesticks under direct sunlight, you can consider using artificial lights, such as grow lights, to supplement the natural light.

It’s important to note that even with the right amount of light, the Firestick plant may take some time to turn red. Patience is key, as the plant’s red coloration is often a stress response and may take several weeks or months to develop.

Insufficient Light
Source: Houzz

Reason Two: Overwatering

Overwatering can cause a Firesticks plant to prevent it from turning red. If you are curious, underwatering does not contribute to this issue. But it can cause curly leaves like sage plants.


Overwatered Firestick plants become droopy and lose their green, red, and yellow colors. Instead, they turn gray or brown. 


To help revive an over-watered Firestick plant, do not water it until the soil is completely dry. This will allow the plant to recover from the waterlogged condition and prevent further damage to the roots. 

If the situation is severe, you may have to repot the plant. Here is the complete process of how to replant Firesticks

  • Put on protective clothing: Before handling a Firestick plant, make sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, eye protection (such as goggles or safety glasses), and gardening gloves. The sap of the Firestick plant can cause injury to the skin and eyes, so it’s important to wear full protection.
  • Prepare the new pot or planting hole: For repotting, choose a pot that is 2 to 3 inches wider and deeper than the plant’s current pot and has drainage holes. Put two to three inches of potting soil in the bottom of the pot for cacti and succulents. 

You should dig a hole that will hold the root ball of the Firestick if you are planting it outside. Ensure there is a space of two to three feet on all sides to prevent other plants from crowding it. You can use sand to improve soil drainage at the planting location if it does not drain well.

  • Take the plant out from its existing pot: To remove the plant from the pot grasp the base of the plant gently and turn the pot onto its side. Gently pull on the pot while pushing lightly on the sides and tapping on the bottom. Be careful not to snap any branches in the process. That’s because branches can leak sap if they are snapped. 
  • Place the plant in its new pot or planting hole: Carefully place the Firestick plant into its new pot or planting hole. The soil should be added or removed as necessary to maintain the plant’s previous soil depth. 

If you pat the soil around the roots gently, you can ensure that it is firm and has a good grip on the roots. The soil should be thoroughly moistened by watering it until it becomes completely dry. The soil should be thoroughly moistened by watering it until it becomes completely dry.

  • Provide necessary care: After repotting or replanting a Firestick plant, it’s important to avoid watering the plant for a few days. This is to allow it to settle into its new environment. 

Once the soil has dried out slightly, resume your normal watering routine, which is once every 3-4 weeks. Make sure to water the plant thoroughly, but not excessively, in order to prevent damage to the plant. Keep the plant in a bright, indirect light location and monitor it for any signs of stress or disease.

Provide necessary care
Source: Succulents Online

Reason Three: Genetics

Genetics and Age can also play a role in determining whether a Firestick plant will turn red or remain green. There are different breeds of Pencil Cactuses and not all of them have the potential to turn under certain conditions. 

A regular Pencil Cactus is scientifically called “Euphorbia tirucalli” and a Pencil Cactus that turns can turn red seasonally is called “Euphorbia tirucalli rosea”. Regular Pencil cactus plants simply do not have the genetic potential to turn red, even when exposed to the right amount of stress and light. 


Get the correct breed of the Firestick plant and provide it necessary care.

Precautions to Take Before Handling Firesticks

Firesticks can be very toxic and cause skin and eye irritations. That’s why when handling Firestick plants, it’s important to take precautions. Here are some tips for the safe handling of the Firesticks plant:

  • Put on long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and gloves to protect your skin from contact with the plant’s sap.
  • The best way to protect your eyes from sap splatters is to wear goggles or safety glasses.
  • Avoid touching the plant: If possible, avoid touching the plant altogether. If you need to move or handle the plant, use a pair of tongs or thick gardening gloves to protect your hands.
  • If you come into contact with the plant, wash your hands with soap and water immediately. It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes or face.

By taking these precautions, you can handle your Firestick plant safely and avoid any potential irritation from the plant’s sap. 

Firestick Plant Care Guide: How To Take Care of Your Firesticks

Here are some tips for caring for your Firesticks:

  • Firesticks need bright, direct light to thrive. Place your plant in a sunny spot, but not during heat waves, as this can scorch the leaves.
  • Water your Firestick plant sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. In order to avoid root rot and other problems caused by overwatering, it is important to avoid excessive watering on a regular basis. On the other hand, if the plant is too dry, it can cause the stems to become droopy and the leaves to fall off.
  • There is a great deal of risk associated with root rot in firesticks, so they require well-draining soil. In order to improve drainage, choose a cactus or succulent potting mix that contains either sand or perlite.
  • Ideally, Firesticks should be kept in a warm environment between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You should protect your plants from frost and freezing temperatures, as these conditions can cause damage or even death.
  • Water-soluble fertilizers should be applied once a month during spring and summer, regarded as the growing season for Firesticks. There should be no fertilization during the period when the plants are dormant (fall and winter).
  • Firestick plants need to be replanted periodically for two to three years or as soon as they outgrow their containers. Choose a container with drainage holes that is a little bigger than the old one. 

With these, you should now know why your Firestick plant is not turning red.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why Is My Firestick Plant Turning White? 

If your Firestick plant is turning white, it may be a sign of overwatering or sunburn. When a Firestick plant is overwatered, its stems can become swollen and discolored, sometimes turning white or pale. 

Why Is My Firestick Light Yellow? 

A Firestick plant can turn yellow due to various reasons including overwatering, lack of light, nutrient deficiency, etc. Addressing the issue promptly will help the plant recover faster.

What is the reason for my pencil cactus turning green? 

The reason why the pencil cactus is turning light green is most likely due to insufficient light. Pencil cacti require plenty of sunlight, and they can usually tolerate several hours of direct sun exposure daily, especially during the winter season.


If your Firestick plant is not red when it’s supposed to, it indicates a lack of proper care. You are most probably not giving the plant the light it requires or giving the plant too much water.

If that’s the case, you need to follow the proper care guidance so that the plant can thrive in your garden.

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