I Have it All

Perennial of the Week: Euphorbia – ‘Spurge’

Euphorbia (also called Spurge) adds exciting textures and brilliant colors to a garden in every season. Add a few well-selected varieties of Euphorbia to your landscape, and you’ll enjoy a succession of blooms that extend from spring right through the fall, and foliage that can warm up a winter landscape.

Euphorbia truly has it all. In addition to being a real looker, this drought tolerant plant will take off – even in poor soil. Gardeners are drawn to the foliage and clusters of tiny cup-shaped flowers that bloom in unexpected colors. Each flower head looks like one large blossom, but each diminutive Euphorbia flower is either male or female (stamen or pistil), and does not have petals, sepals, or other standard flower parts.

Don’t be discouraged: Euphorbia appears in many forms, and is a prized ornamental.

As an added bonus, its milky sap means deer and other herbivores will leave it alone, the way most five-year-olds eschew asparagus.

Our current Rohsler’s Grown offerings include Ascot Rainbow, Blue Haze, Ruby Glow, Cushion Spurge, Jade Dragon, Golden Glory, Wood Spurge and more. Plant them in a sunny spot and enjoy!

Ruby Glow blooms from early summer through autumn. The foliage may be red or green, but in either case, these plants grow to 16 inches high and appreciate a dry spell between watering.

Wood Spurge takes full sun to partial shade and works its magic in late spring, when its chartreuse flowers appear. This type of Euphorbia makes an excellent groundcover, as it spreads slowly and forms a dense mat. This variety maxes out at 12 inches tall.

Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma) grows 12” to 18” tall. This variety is named for its cushion-like deep green foliage, which turns red come fall. Its yellow flowers appear in late spring. We recommend you trim your Cushion Spurge after it finishes blooming for the season. Suggested companion plants include Rock Cress, Ice Plant, Tall Bearded Iris, and Violets.

A variegated version of Cushion Spurge known as Euphorbia epithymoides “First Blush” is a late spring specialty that was practically made for rock gardens. This plant starts with pink buds that open to reveal yellow flowers. A low-growing (12” tall) form of Euphorbia, First Blush pairs well with Sedum and Poppy plants.

Ascot Rainbow Spurge features gorgeous variegated foliage and blossoms. Each bloom includes a tiny deep red center. Place this variety of Euphorbia in full sun. It will ultimately grow to 20” high.

Blue Haze is the right Euphorbia to plant for early spring blooms. This is one of the taller varieties of Spurge, reaching from 12” to 18” tall. Its silvery gray-green foliage makes a stunning backdrop for its chartreuse flowers.

Red Velvet, a type of Wood Spurge with deep red foliage, also provides spring blooms. This variety grows 18” to 20” tall.

Golden Glory (Euphorbia amygdaloides) is among the tallest forms of Spurge, topping the charts at 20”. Choose this type of Euphorbia and enjoy dark foliage with chartreuse flowers during the summer followed by dark red foliage in winter and early spring.

Euphorbia is an underutilized perennial with many attributes and deserves a place in the landscape or even container. Choose a sampling of these Euphorbia varieties to amp up the seasonal interest in your garden or planter! Our sales staff will be delighted to help you choose the best Spurge for your planting from the numerous varieties that have been grown right here at our nursery. We look forward to seeing you soon.


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