You won’t find a better low-maintenance annual for your beds, borders, or containers than euphorbia. This tough plant offers outstanding heat and drought resistance. Instead of showy flower petals, euphorbia has modified leaves, called bracts. It's a vigorous grower so it can quickly fill a garden space.
There are many varieties and cultivars of euphorbia so you are bound to find one to bloom in any season. While some euphorbias sport showy white bracts, others are green and yellow. Some bloom nonstop throughout the growing season, no deadheading required.
Euphorbia Care Must-Knows
Most varieties require similar conditions. They thrive in full sun, which ensures the best and brightest flowers and continuous blossoms. Although the plants tolerate part sun, they will set fewer blossoms and muted, looser foliage.
Euphorbias perform best in well-drained soil. Even during long periods of drought, they'll keep their display of blossoms. Some euphorbias are succulents and can be grown as you would a cactus. If kept in wet soil, euphorbias rot.
When cut or damaged, euphorbia exude a milky white poisonous sap that deer and rabbits don't like. The sap can irritate skin and cause a rash in sensitive people, so make sure to wear gloves when handling euphorbia. Avoid getting the sap in your eyes, as it can cause vision problems and even blindness.
More Varieties of Euphorbia:
This variety is a fairly large growing, treelike euphorbia with burgundy foliage. Zones 9-11
'Breathless Blush' euphorbia
Much like 'Diamond Frost', these plants are covered in small blooms all year, but this variety features a pink blush. Zones 10-11
'Diamond Frost' euphorbia
This selection of Euphorbia 'Inneuphdia' is one of the most popular container plants. A wonderfully heat- and drought-tolerant plant, it produces a continuous supply of frothy blooms from spring to fall. It grows 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
Euphorbia lactea cristata is commonly grown as an annual or houseplant. It features wrinkled, fanlike foliage streaked with silvery green. It grows 2 feet tall and wide. Zones 10-11
Euphorbia tirucallii 'Rosea', or Firesticks, is a tropical selection often grown as an annual. This distinct variety has leafless stems in shades of bright orange, red, and pink. It grows 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Perennial in Zones 9-11
Snow on the Mountain
Euphorbia marginata, or snow on the mountain, shows off green foliage that develops a white edge in late summer and fall. This self-seeding annual has clusters of white flowers at the end of the season and grows 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide.
Euphorbia Companion Plants:
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, but they're studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can even keep it flowering all winter.
Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.
You can depend on this cottage-garden favorite to fill your garden with color all season long. The simple, daisylike flowers appear in cheery shades on tall stems that are great for cutting. The lacy foliage makes a great backdrop for shorter plants, as well. Cosmos often self-seed in the garden, so you may only have to plant it once, though the colors can appear muddy or odd in the reseeders. Plant cosmos from seed directly in the ground in spring. Or start from established seedlings. This flower doesn't like fertilizing or conditions that are too rich, which causes the foliage to be large and lush but with fewer blooms. It does best with average moisture but will tolerate drought.