Euphorbias are guaranteed to add zest to borders and pots with their brilliant blooms in 1 shade of lime-green, yellow, and orange appearing in spring.
Many also have evergreen leaves offering unique structure all year round, so they do fit very quickly into the must-have plant category.
Whether you’re looking for classic grey-green foliage or red and maroon shades, there is bound to be a euphorbia to suit whatever growing conditions you have in your garden.
Vast choice With around 2,200 species, euphorbias are the second largest genus of plants globally. They can grow in an extraordinary range of landscapes, from mountains to deserts to temperate forests.
There are many specific types, and more cultivars are being bred, so there is a vast choice. Some varieties work in sun and shade, dry soils, and damp.
Many perennial euphorbias are also known as spurges or milkweed. They share a characteristic milky-white sap that can be an irritant if it touches your skin or eyes, so when cutting, always wear gloves.
While euphorbias may vary in form and leaf color from grey-green to rich maroons, the flowers gain their intense color from the leafy bracts around the tiny central blooms.
They have the advantage of looking good for weeks even after the blooms are spent. This allows spring-flowering varieties to blend into hotter summer colors gently.
For example, Euphorbia griffithii `Dixter’ works well with cooler-shaded camassias in May right through to hot kniphofias later in summer.
The zingy green of spring can’t fail to lift spirits at the end of a long winter, from the first unfurlings of new leaves to the new shoots coming through bare soil.
The greens of euphorbias take this to a whole new level, so choose one for your garden from our selection over the following few pages.
Euphorbias are recklessly fashionable plants at the moment, but many of them are fussy about damp conditions and heavy soils. But not this one.
It’s so unfussy and easy to grow that it’s often considered a utility plant that is only suitable for ground cover.
That’s not right. It would be best never to undervalue euphorbias because they are cracking plants that can be used in various positions.
The handsome foliage is so dark green as to be nearly black, and that looks effective even in the depths of winter.
The flowers start to unroll from the shoot tips at this time of year.
Eventually, they open out into bright greeny-yellow flower heads that look handsome for months.
They are, in fact, bracts rather than flowers, which is why they are so long-lasting.
This plant will thrive anywhere, even in dry shade under trees, and it lights up any sad little shady spot.
Euphorbias grows well from seeds sown in pots indoors. By gathering “volunteers” around an established plant, you can propagate Euphorbia more quickly and easily.
Stem cuttings can also be rooted in a soilless medium, such as peat. To keep moisture in, mist them lightly and place the pot in a bag. Allow the pot to breathe once a day for an hour to prevent mold growth.
Once the cutting has rooted, it can be potted in regular soil or planted outside in mild climates. One of the most important Euphorbia growing tips is to let the stem cutting dry for a few days before planting.
This allows the sap to form a callus on the cut end, which keeps it from rotting. Grow Euphorbias if you want a giant thornless cactus specimen 6 feet (2 m.) tall or a creeping, sweetly flowering groundcover.
They not only reward the gardener with good looks but also remind us all of the variety and beauty found in nature.
It is a must-have plant for many situations.
Euphorbias Plant Profile
Family: Euphorbiaceae is known for many ornamental specimens such as poinsettias, crown-of-thorns, snowbrush, and crotons, as well as many plants of economic and medicinal importance such as those that produce cassava, tapioca, rubber, and castor oil.
Common names: Diamond Frost Euphorbia
Native to: A cultivated variety garden selection. The species plant is common spurge native to the central, southern, and western United States, Central America, and northern South America.
Description: Diamond Frost Euphorbia is a sub-shrub. The plants are mounding and well-
branched. Slender branches are jointed, exude a milky latex when broken, and may have a red tint, particularly at the joints. The leaves are fixed opposite on the stems.
They are simple, elliptical, slightly fuzzy, medium to olive green, and about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inches wide.
Real flowers are small, insignificant, and not fragrant. They are borne in umbels surrounded by showy white modified leaves called bracts, which are spatula-shaped.
Flowers occur most of the year in Central and South Florida, though they may cycle or be heavier in seasons with moderate temperatures.
Hardiness: USDA zones 10 and 11; do not tolerate frost or freezing temperatures. They are used as annual in other zones.
Height/width: Mounds can grow 18 to 24 inches high and wide.
Light: Full sun to part shade, with the sun, preferred.
Soil/Moisture: Tolerant of most soils if they are well-drained. Drought tolerant when established but benefits from an occasional water application during the driest times. It is moderately salt tolerant.
Culture/uses: Diamond Frost Euphorbia is an easy-to-grow and tough plant. Use it in beds, as a groundcover, and in containers.
It is spectacular used in a border or a mixed-background planting, mixes well with other plants, and fills gaps in the landscape nicely. The plants are deer resistant and apparently rabbit resistant.
No pruning or deadheading is required; the old blooms are self-cleaning. Fertilize two to four per year with balanced fertilizer; mulch to control weeds. No pests are reported as severe problems.
Misuses and notes: Susceptible to rot in heavily irrigated landscapes. Some people report allergic reactions or skin irritations from contact with the milky sap from plants in the Euphorbiaceae family; caution should be used when handling.