I've been meaning to feature this one as "plant of the month" for a while, but the time never seemed right.
With this week's return of the polar vortex, I'm yearning for bright, warm colors, so here they are.
Euphorbia polychroma (synonym, E. epithymoides), commonly called Cushion Spurge, adds a bit of reliable, bright spring color to my garden. Depending on the weather, it commonly begins blooming here in April or May, and the blooms last for a few weeks. Like its relative, Poinsettia (E. pulcherrima), Cushion Spurge forms bracts that are actually showier than its inconspicuous flowers.
The perennial forms a mound, with a height and spread of about 12-24 inches.
This plant has been a stalwart in my garden since we moved here more than 14 years ago. I take it for granted, but I was surprised to learn from the Missouri Botanical Garden and other sources that it prefers full sun and dry soil!
Well ... my garden is shady and the soil is moist (except during drought), and this Euphorbia is very happy here.
As you can see, its chartreuse color is a good companion to burgundy and magenta garden accents. A showy plant, it also:
- Thrives in zones 4 to 8;
- Repels rabbits and deer;
- Tolerates poor soils and drought; and
- Requires low maintenance.
One notable characteristic is that its stems exude a toxic, milky sap when cut. I've never cut my plant, it hasn't spread beyond its original location, and it's perfect where it was planted by the previous owners.
For me, today, the memory and image of Cushion Spurge add a little sunshine to another brutally cold winter day.