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Friday, April 28, 2006

Plant of the Day: Euphorbia epithymoides

It's easy to chose today's Plant of the Day. Euphorbia epithymoides is commonly known as cushion spurge. Related to the Poinsettia it's a wonderfully easy to grow, hardy perennial here in zone 6b.

This photo was taken today in my garden. As you can see, cushion spurge adds a wonderful sunshine yellow to the early spring garden.

Combined with other perennials that have contrasting foliage, you can have a lovely area long before most plants begin to bloom. In this spot I have Euphorbia epithymoides paired with Coreopsis 'Zagreb' (thread leaf tickseed), Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' and the wonderful purple foliage of the Lysimachia ciliata Purpurea.

Once the blooms begin to fade on your Euphorbia, you have to make a choice to let it go to seed or to cut it back before it seeds. Here in my garden I have a number of plants so I always leave some to seed. The seedlings aren't aggressive, nor do they appear by the hundreds so they are always welcome volunteers.

When cutting back the foliage on your Euphorbia you should be aware that it has a milky white sap. Some people experience a mild rash or irritation from this plant so you would want to handle it with gloves. In my own case, while I get terrible rashes from Poison Ivy, the Euphorbia doesn't bother me at all.

Transplanting of any young plants are done early in the season here before they begin to bloom. I've found them pretty tolerent of being moved about the garden.

So add a few cushion spurge to your garden, and enjoy some spring sunshine!


Anonymous said...

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Tim said...

I was intrigued by your mention of Euphorbia epithymoides as an easy to grow hardy perennial on the East Coast. So I looked up the species in a book on Perennials, and found that the Euphorbia species is native to Europe, North Africa, and Turkey, with such varied names as E. cyparissias, E. griffithii, E. polychroma, and E. amygdaolides. They each feature yellow or reddish flower clusters, with the last type growing wild in the North of England and Ireland.

My wife Sara and I do our gardening on the West Coast of the continent, in British Columbia, Canada. We just started a gardening blog, please feel free to visit. We’ll have to try a Euphorbia species next year, if they are available at our local gardening store. Judging from your picture, they would certainly be a welcome addition to any garden.

Our garden is flourishing, thanks to the expertly developed 100% organic nutrients made by Advanced Nutrients. Do you know their products? They’re head and shoulders above anything we’ve tried before, and certainly a robust difference from just using compost and manure to feed your plants.

Anonymous said...

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Ana Karina Luna said...

Hi, so to divide up the Euphorbia (Polychroma) you just dig it out and pull the roots apart? Any other advice before I do it? Can I do the same with the hostas? I'm afraid to kill them.

Thanks. By the way, great blog. As a suggestions, you can add a search bar to make it easier to find subjects.


Anonymous said...

Our cushion spurge is presently in its glory here in northern Illinois. The bright yellow is a welcome addition to our flower beds. I like it because to requires little or no attention and seems to thrive. Best of all, the deer don't bother it. Dividing and replanting are easily done.