Euphorbia

Euphorbia
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
helenas blush euphorbia
Credit: Marty Baldwin
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helenas blush euphorbia

Euphorbia

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.

genus name
  • Euphorbia
light
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
height
  • 6 to 12 inches
  • 1 to 3 feet
width
  • Up to 2 feet
flower color
foliage color
season features
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
propagation

Colorful Combinations

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:

burgundy euphorbia continifolia
Credit: Denny Schrock

Euphorbia cotinifolia

This variety is a fairly large growing, treelike euphorbia with burgundy foliage. Zones 9-11

breathless blush euphorbia
Credit: Justin Hancock

'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
Credit: Marty Baldwin

'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.

elkhorn euphorbia annual
Credit: Denny Schrock

'Elkhorn' euphorbia

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

leafless firesticks euphorbia
Credit: Edward Golich

'Firesticks' euphorbia

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
Credit: Tim Alexander

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.

helenas blush euphorbia
Credit: Marty Baldwin

'Helena's Blush' euphorbia

Euphorbia 'Inneuphhel' is a perennial but is often grown as an annual in containers. It bears green foliage blushed with purple and edged in creamy yellow. The plant grows 20 inches tall and wide. Perennial in Zones 6-9

Euphorbia Companion Plants:

white angelonia blooms

Angelonia

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.

pink heuchera coralbells with path in background
Credit: Peter Krumhardt

Coralbells

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.

pink magenta cosmos flowers
Credit: Jon Jensen

Cosmos

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.

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