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Euphorbia (you-FOR-bee-uh)

Common Name:  spurge, cushion spurge

Light:  - Full sun to part shade

Soil:  Average to loamy, well-drained

Moisture:  Average to dry

Blooms:  Spring and summer

Zones:  varies by type

Looking for Euphorbia plants? Check plant availability at Hallson Gardens by visiting our Euphorbia catalog page


Euphorbia 'Bonfire' PPAF

Euphorbia e. 'First Blush' PP#15292

Euphorbia Description and Cultural Information

There are enough euphorbias to devote an entire website to them although not all of them are cold hardy. They are characterized by succulent foliage and interesting, usually yellow, flower bracts held above leafy stems. The ones I've listed are a few of the more hardy varieties. Hopefully more and more will become popularly known and available.

Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon', purple spurge. 18 - 24". This mounding spurge has bronzy-purple foliage and lime-green bracts in the spring. It is a prolific self-seeder. Zones 5 - 7.

Euphorbia epithymoides, cushion spurge. 12". This compact cushion spurge has thin green leaves with yellow bracts and flowers forming an 18" wide mound. The variety 'First Blush' PP#15292 is an attractive variegated plant with green and cream foliage that is tinted pink early in the season. Zones 4 - 7.

Euphorbia griffithii, Griffith's spurge. 2' - 3'. While most spurges have yellow bracts, this shrubby euphorbia has orange-red ones over pale-green, pointed, fleshy leaves and thick stems in summer. 'Fireglow' has bright orange-red bracts. 'Dixter' is more orange. Zones 6 - 7.

Euphorbia myrsinites, myrtle euphorbia. 6 - 10". Myrtle euphorbia is a vigorous growing groundcover with thick stems and whorled blue-green leaves. Yellow bracts appear at the ends in spring. Plants often self-sow. Zones 5 - 9.

Euphorbia polychroma, cushion spurge. 12 - 18". Cushion spurge is a very hardy euphorbia that forms compact mounds of medium green foliage. In the spring it is covered with bright yellow bracts making a very attractive mound in the garden. The foliage turns bronzy-red in the fall. Plants often self-sow. 'Lacy' is a variegated form. 'Bonfire' is a selection very attractive reddish-purple tints to the leaves and bracts and yellow flowers. Zones 3 - 8.

How to Grow:  Plant euphorbias in well-drained, average to rich soil in full sun to part shade. Most are not particulary tolerant of extreme heat or extreme cold and may not be suitable for all areas of the country, however they are very drought tolerant. Plants are easily divided to propagate or keep under control and self-sown seedlings are quiet common.

Landscape Uses:  The taller euphorbias make nice additions to the shrub border. Smaller spurges make good additions to the border or rock gardens. I grew up with cushion spurge growing below a tall hedge row and was always attracted to the bright yellow flowers in the spring. Combine them in the border with other spring bloomers such as iris, dianthus, and rock cress (Arabis). Purple spurge is particulary attractive against white flowers or silvery leaved plants such as artemisia and lamb's ears.

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