Plant Identification- African Milk Bush Plant

My Mom has a plant with these beautiful leaves but we don’t know what the name of the plant is.

Green and red African Milk Bush
African Milk Bush

Hi Tom,

Your plant is called an African Milk Bush Plant; do not get it confused with an African Milk Tree which is an entirely different plant. Everyone agrees on the common name African Milk Bush since it comes from Africa. Everyone also agrees that it is a type of succulent Euphorbia plant. Many call it an African poinsettia.  It has many scientific names however. The most popular are Euphorbia grantii rubra, Synadenium compactum rubra, Synadenium grantii rubra. 

Light: Inside an African Milk Bush plant needs very bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. and some morning sun. It loves to go outside when the temperature stays about 50°F (10°C). Keep it out of the direct sun or the older leaves will quickly get burnt. These plants do not like to be cold!

Water: Be careful not to over water an African Milk Bush plant. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out and the leaves to become a little soft before you water. During the winter, when the plant is resting and not growing very quickly, water less.

Plant Food: Feed an African Milk Bush plantmonthly in the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.

Pruning: I like to prune the plant to keep it bushy. Cuttings from the plant root very easily and can be added back to the original plant or used to start new plants.