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Friday, March 21, 2008

Pin the tail on the Donkey - or cut it off?

This is what Euphorbia myrsinites looks like in my garden on March 19th. The nick name of this plant is Donkey's tail and I can kind of see why.

The bloom is very subtle, but it looks so wonderful cascading over rocks, gravel or down a hill.

A number of years ago I was in Minnesota in November and the gardener that I was visiting had this in her garden. She dug me two pieces and I brought them home. I had learned not to be shy if I saw something in masses in other gardens and I will ask for a piece if the moment is right.

Last year I actually bought more since my original plants have given me only a handful of seedlings.

Here's my question of the day. Do you grow this plant and if so, do you cut those long scraggly tails back in spring?

Now I need to get ready so I can photograph yesterday's purchases and play with them too.


GardenJoy4Me said...

melanie .................. I thought you said you had SNOW girl ?? ... I do like the affect of thatplant draping over a wall though .. hum ... nope ... I haven't any room !

Cinj said...

Sounds like fun. I've never seen that kind of plant though, so I guess I'm really no help at all. Sorry!

Shady Gardener tagged me, so now I'm tagging you. Come check out my blog for the rules!

Connie said...

I am wondering the same thing about my Tri-color sedum, whether I should cut it back or not. It looks rather untidy with it's long stems.

Gail said...


I am waiting to hear the answer myself! I think Pam at Digging grows this plant; but I am not a detail person.

It does look like a donkey's tale!


Brenda Kula said...

I don't know if you would or not, actually. I cut most everything back, as it gives it new energy for growth. But that is so beautiful, I'd be as hesitant as you are.

Ewa said...

it looks very nice, however, I don't have it in my garden, so no help :(
Happy Easter!

Mark said...

Hi Melanie,
Funnily enough I purchased one of these the other day, it now resides on my shed roof I'll do an update post soon about the roof so you should see it then.

Cheers Mark

Melanie said...

Joy, no snow yet, we'll see in the morning but we don't believe it, nope, we don't.

Cinj, aaaaccckk, I'm tagged? Never been tagged before, will have to think hard now.

Connie, Sedum I know, I say cut them. As for the pieces you cut off, stick those in the ground in another spot, they'll grow too!

Gail, I cut some of the tails off today, just the longest and most straggly ones. We'll see what happens now. I'll check with Pam if I remember.

Brenda, they really are pretty to me but some people don't like them at all.

Ewa, Happy Easter to you (and to all the rest of you too!)

garden girl said...

I've never seen it before. You have some of the coolest plants Melanie!

Happy Easter to you and your family.

Dave said...

I don't know the plant really but I would probably cut it back a bit. Most plants respond well to a little hair cut. Hmm...maybe you could even make more with the cuttings...;)

Anna said...

I've got that plant--but I've never cut it back. I went outside and looked at it--for you--at 1am--and it's nothing but babies coming up. I guess the top froze off and went somewhere. I've been too busy to remember. But now it's just a bunch of babies coming up in my pot just like what you got. Is it Autumn Joy Sedum? I want some stone crop--can't get enough of that stuff.

Jean said...

I have had this plant for about four years, but it has never flowered, but also I have never cut it back, and the branches are about a metre long.
It is autumn here in New Zealand, so perhaps I will cut it back and see if it flowers.

Lin said...

Euphorbia myrsinites - Myrtle Spurge, Creeping Spurge, Donkey Tail: Bright sulphur-yellow bracts surround inconspicuous flowers during the spring. The milky sap from this plant can cause significant skin and eye irritations. Often considered noxious, and is invasive in some regions. Have heard its cultivation is illegal in Colorado. Trim back flowering stems unless seeds are desired.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I am in love with Euphorbias. I just began growing them last year. One I have is tall and spreads nicely in dry shade. I planted a variegated one out front in dry shade also. I'll see how it does. I am also growing Diamond Frost in pots. The funny thing about this genus is that it's so large, and there are all so diverse. I like your donkey tail one.~~Dee

sisah said...

Funny english name, I like it though... better than the german version... "roller-wolf´s milk"...if I translate it word by word. Yes, I have this plant for a few years and it is also self seeding, as I found out. But it suffers if the winters are bad, after this very mild winter it looks alright and I never cut it back, even though the "tails" became quite long. But the plant doesn´t mind cutting back at all, it recovers. It starts blossoming at the moment, I should take photos of mine and post them.

Anonymous said...

I live in Idaho and have zillions of these plants. YES ZILLIONS. My wife hates them. I love them because they have pushed out all the weeds and stay blue-green ALL WINTER LONG. They require no water at all once established. After the seeds ripen they pop and shoot all over creating hundreds and hundreds of new plants. I give them away to whoever wants them. They are toxic though. My son had one brush up against his face and it turned into a large sore. I didn't know if he was in serious trouble, or not, but it cleared up in a week. As a ground cover, they are excellent, but they are outlawed in Colorado, parts of Utah and Washington.

Hottie said...

Its fall now and time to bring in my 6 ft. hanging Donkey tail. It has a cloth hanger, I should replace before it rots and my lovely plant hits the ground in a thousand pieces....Guess I best start over.
any ideas? I'd send you a picture but don't see how.