• Forgot your password?
  • Forgot your username?
  • Create an Account

We have 349 guests and no members online

These dainty yet durable and drought hardy beauties will bloom continuously throughout summer.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Euphorbia 'Glitz' is perfect in containers. Picture courtesy www.ballstraathof.co.zaEuphorbia 'Glitz' is perfect in containers. Picture courtesy www.ballstraathof.co.zaGarden Spurge, Graceful Sandmat, Large-Spotted Spurge, Milk Purslane, Tropical Euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia)

Euphorbia hypericifolia is native to the Americas where it occurs in the tropics and subtropics, having been recorded from the southern USA, the Caribbean and throughout South America. It has been widely introduced to the Pacific Islands, and to some extent in tropical Africa, Mauritius, India and Southeast Asia; where it occurs from sea-level up to an altitude of about 600m, along roadsides, stony river banks, on disturbed sites, and as a weed in cultivation.  

The plants resemble the annual plant called “baby's breath” (Gypsophila paniculata), and can be used in the garden in much the same way, but these wispy plants with their abundance of frothy drifts of small white flowers, interspersed amongst their olive green leaves, belie their delicate looks with their hardy temperaments.

Because of the popularity of this plant, it seems exciting new introductions are being brought out every year;  all of which have a low, mounding and spreading growth habit, +-20 to 30cm tall and 50 to 60cm wide. A few include: Euphorbia 'Euphoric White' and Euphorbia 'Glitz' which are ideal for containers, hanging baskets and borders. Euphorbia 'Marginata' grows 90cm tall and has white on green foliage. Euphorbia 'Diamond Frost' has slender green leaves and white flowers. Euphorbia 'Diamond Fizz’ produces copious floral bracts, creating the illusion of double flowers. Euphorbia 'Breathless' produces stocky plants covered in a mist of white or pink tinged flowers. Euphorbia 'Breathless Blush' is the first dark-foliaged euphorbia with red-flushed leaves and pink-flushed flowers. Euphorbia 'Breathless White' is a sturdy plant and shows off masses of crystal white blooms.

Uses:

Any of these euphorbias make good houseplants if you can provide good light. They are also popular with florists as filler plants in arrangements. Before using the flowers, dip the cut stems into boiling water, or hold over a flame for a few seconds, before plunging into cold water. This will help prevent sap bleed.

In the Garden:

These euphorbias make wonderful low maintenance, water-wise plants. They look good in borders and along the edges of walkways, planted singly or intermingled with large leaved plants, like coral bells and coleus.  They are glorious in hanging baskets and containers, with their delicate branches spreading and spilling over edges and between larger leaved companion plants. Try tucking them into rock wall pockets and any nook and cranny in the garden, as they are the perfect companions to almost all other water-wise garden plants.  The popularity of these euphorbias is increasing and they are available during the Christmas season, combined in containers with poinsettias - making the red poinsettias seem to be nesting in a bed of snow!

Euphorbia 'Breathless' Picture courtesy www tuberflora.co.zaEuphorbia 'Breathless' Picture courtesy www tuberflora.co.zaEuphorbia 'Breathless' Picture courtesy www tuberflora.co.zaCultivation:

In areas with mild winters these plants will bloom almost all year-round, but in cold, frosty regions they are grown as a summer annuals because they are sensitive to cold. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting outside. In cold regions, plants in containers may be brought indoors for overwintering in a sunny window, where they may even continue to flower. These low maintenance and drought tolerant plants are sensitive to overwatering which can cause rotting. They perform best in dry to medium moisture, moderately fertile, sharply drained soils. Water regularly until the plant is acclimatised to its new home, but after that, allow the plant to dry out before watering again. These euphorbias can take some shade but do best in full sun. They bloom pretty much continually in summer and need no deadheading, but you can "pinch-prune" as required, to keep the plants more bushy. No feeding is required if they are grown in garden beds, but for container grown specimens, a little boost with a liquid fertiliser in mid-summer will do no harm and help keep them going.

Propagation:
 
These are cultivars, so seed is not available, and most cultivars are also protected by plant breeder’s rights, so propagation is prohibited. Small plants are widely available in nurseries.

Pests & Diseases:

No known serious insect or disease problems are recorded if plants are grown correctly, but root rot may occur in poorly drained or wet soils and can be fatal.  Plants can be affected by mealybugs, whitefly and spider mites, especially in tight growing conditions where air circulation is not great. Also, watch out for aphids.

Warning:

Euphorbia is poisonous if ingested. It also produces a milky sap that is a skin and eye irritant. The degree of irritation or toxicity varies, depending on the species. If sensitive to the toxic plant saps of euphorbias, it is best to use gloves when working with this plant.

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

Your banner here

Place your banner here


Join our mailing list