Euphorbia

Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii

Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii

Euphorbia

Spurge

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: well-drained soil
  • Flowering period: April to June
  • Foliage: evergreen
  • Hardiness: fully hardy (may need winter protection)

Many Euphorbias are highly valued for their architectural qualities and spring colour. They are reliable plants, easy to grow. Most Euphorbias prefer full sun or partial shade and are best planted in a position where they are sheltered from strong, cold winds.

Varieties

Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii, also known as Mediterranean spurge. This stunning evergreen perennial bears dramatic, large heads of greenish-yellow flowers with bronze eyes on erected stems with grey-blue leaves in early spring. It will add structure to a border year-round. Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii needs plenty of space. Expect a height of 1meter and a spread of 1,5meter.

Another excellent evergreen euphorbia is Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae. Lovely lime-green flowers emerge from rosettes of dark green leaves from mid to late spring. This variety does well in dry shade, even under trees and hedges. It also makes attractive groundcover. Those who want purple leaves choose Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’.

euphorbia characias wulfenii
Leaves of Euphorbia c.  wulfenii           Flowers of  Euphorbia c. wulfenii

Pruning

When and how to prune Euphorbia characias (spurge). Euphorbia characias produces biennial stems. In its first year, stems of grey-blue leaves will emerge. In its second year, these stems will bear flowers in spring. When the stems have finished flowering ( around June) cut them back to the base of the plant.

When and how to prune Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (wood spurge). Cut back the faded stems in late summer or autumn. New rosettes will constantly emerge at the base.

Wear gloves when cutting back stems of euphorbias. The milky sap is poisonous and causes skin irritation.

Overwinter Euphorbia characias

If the stems of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii are exposed to cold winds or severe frosts they can be damaged. Protect the plant against cold winds with a couple of layers of garden fleece.

Plant combination

Euphorbias look good planted with  Aquilegia, Brunnera macrophylla, Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Ceanothus.

Erysimum Bowles Mauve
Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’