Spurge, beautiful and unique

Yellow spurge flowers in a field

Spurge is a truly unique plant, both for the appeal of its flowers and that of its leaves.

Summary of Spurge facts

Name – Euphorbia
Family – Euphorbiaceae
Type – perennial

 – 6 to 8 inches (40 to 120 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – ordinary

 – evergreen or deciduous depending on the area
Flowering – May to July

It is surprising in spring and during the rest of the year, too, especially when the foliage is evergreen.

Planting spurge

Planting spurge is best in fall to favor root development before winter and thus growing back in spring.

You can also plant it up to spring but avoid frost spells. If you’re planting in spring, you’ll need to remember to water more often over the 1st year.

  • The soil must be rich and drain well.
  • Spurge actually abhors soil that is too rich, so no need to fertilize the soil with fertilizer.
  • Avoid moving the spurge from one place to the next, it doesn’t appreciate it.
  • Each spurge variety has special characteristics and their needs differ from one species to the next. Check upon purchasing your plant if it prefers cool soil, moist soil, and full sun or part shade…

Here are a few interesting and distinctive varieties.

spurgeSpurge varieties and recommended exposure

For dry, sunny locations, best plant Euphorbia characias or Euphorbia ‘Blackord’.

In places of light shade, prefer Euphorbia palustris or Marsh spurge, it loves cool ground.

If you know that it freezes during winter, even simple frost spells, plant Euphorbia griffithii because it can survive temperatures as cold as 5°F (-15°C).

Lastly, if ease of care is what you want most, go for Euphorbia amygdaloides var Robbiae.

Potted spurge

It is perfectly possible to grow your spurges in a pot. It’s even a brilliant idea for your decks, patios and balconies.

  • For that, find a container that has a hole at the bottom for drainage.
  • Plant the spurge in all-purpose, planting or horticultural soil mix.
  • Avoid emplacements that might get too hot. Partial shade is actually recommended.
  • More regular watering is a good idea, with mulch at the foot of the spurge.
  • Water as soon as the soil is dry, for in pots the soil dries up much faster.

Pruning and caring for spurge

Once it has settled in properly, spurge is considered a very easy-going plant and will only require a little care.

Detach flowers once they’ve wilted away, and protect your hands from the sap because it will cause skin rashes.

  • At the end of the season, cut back very short in fall if ever frost spells are common in your area.
  • Always wear gloves when handling the plant because the sap is poisonous.
  • If you want the plant so sow seeds on its own, don’t disturb it at all.

Spurges don’t like being moved to different places, so try to think of the best place right off the bat when planting.

All there is to know about the spurge

Spurge is a unique, original and cute perennial. It is subdivided into a great number of species: over 2300 have been accounted to this day. Practically the only thing they share in common is the sap which is highly irritant and poisonous.

The plant can be a perennial, an annual, a biennial and sometimes grows as big as a shrub.

It thus needs just the right climates to keep its leaves for all 4 seasons of the year.

It grows a lot, and quickly, which makes it adequate for ground cover.

If the acid green color of the plant surprises you in spring, you won’t be disappointed: all year long, this plant is remarkable when the leaves can last that long.

  • Best plant these specimens in flower beds and along edges.

Smart tip about spurge

The flowers can be used in bouquets, they are very ornamental.

Whenever you must handle the plant, wear gloves because all parts of the plant are poisonous.

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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Yellow field of flowers by Jaqueline Henning under Pixabay license