How to grow euphorbias

How to grow euphorbias

All you need to know about growing and caring for euphorbias, in this detailed Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does not flower in July

Plant does not flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Prune
Prune

Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do Prune in June

Do Prune in July

Do not Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do not Prune in October

Do not Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

Euphorbia is a large genus, with plants ranging from Christmas poinsettias and cowboy cacti, to large shrubs like Euphorbia mellifera. The shrubby hardy varieties make excellent garden plants for a range of situations, depending on their size and preference.

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Euphorbias are easy to grow and look exotic and striking all year round. They add structure and texture to a mixed planting scheme, making them a great companion for colourful shrubs and perennials.

How to grow euphorbias

Grow euphorbias in moist but well-drained soil in sun to partial shade. use them as a foil for other bright colours or as part of a woodland scheme. Mulch annually with leaf mould.

More on growing euphorbias:

Find out how to grow euphorbias, in our detailed Grow Guide, below.


Where to plant euphorbias

How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia x martini 'Ascot Rainbow'
How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Euphorbias generally require a sunny position and fertile, well-drained soil. However, some varieties are shade tolerant and will thrive beneath trees and shrubs, as ground cover.


How to plant euphorbias

How to grow euphorbias – planting euphorbia
How to grow euphorbias – planting euphorbia

When planting pot-grown euphorbias, dig a generous hole and add some compost or leaf mould. After firming in your euphorbia, water well and mulch to keep in moisture and prevent weeds.

Here, Monty Don recommends two excellent euphorbia varieties and details how and where to plant them. He also gives tips on how to propagate euphorbias from cuttings.


How to care for euphorbias

How to grow euphorbias – pruning euphorbia
How to grow euphorbias – pruning euphorbia

Euphorbias do not require feeding or special care as long as the growing conditions are right. It’s a good idea to cut back flowering stems after the blooms have faded. However, you must always wear gloves when working with euphorbias, as their milky sap irritates the skin and eyes, and is poisonous if ingested.


How to propagate euphorbias

How to grow euphorbias – taking euphorbia cuttings
How to grow euphorbias – taking euphorbia cuttings

Propagate euphorbias by taking cuttings in spring. Make sure you wear gloves to protect you from the sap.

Find out how easy and rewarding it is to propagate euphorbias by taking cuttings of Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii in spring. Monty Don shares tips on how to keep the cuttings fresh, how to plant them and how to protect your hands from the irritant sap:


Growing euphorbias: problem solving

How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia 'Efanthia'
How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia ‘Efanthia’

Euphorbias do not suffer from any particular pests and diseases.


Great euphorbia varieties to grow

How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia myrsinites
How to grow euphorbias – Euphorbia myrsinites
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  • Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’ – with dark grey-green rosettes of leaves and upright bracts in lime-green with a red eye. They emerge with a pink flush and develop a red-marked, creamy yellow margin with age. They may also develop pink colouring in winter. The spring flowerheads are variegated green, cream and red. It forms a low, weed-smothering carpet over the ground.
  • Euphorbia myrsintes –small and drought-tolerant, E. myrsinites is good for bordering paths or patios, alpine gardens and containers. It has elongated silvery-green fir cones, with pale silvery green scale-like leaves overlapping all the way along the stems. In early summer these have typical flat heads of yellow euphorbia flowers at the ends.
  • Euphorbia x pasteurii – a large evergreen shrub, this is a cross between Euphorbia stygiana and Euphorbia mellifera. It is rounded in shape and slender, with dark green leaves with white mid ribs, turning red in autumn. Flowers are bronze/green and sweetly scented. Grow Euphorbia x pasteurii in well-drained soil in a Mediterranean style or gravel garden. Cut back spent flower heads in autumn.
  • Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae – a dark, evergreen variety that thrives in poor dry soil in shade, making it perfect for growing under big trees. It spreads by underground runners, eventually forming a low weed smothering carpet. Lime green flowers appear from spring to early summer.
  • Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii – an architectural perennial, with bluish-green evergreen foliage and large, dome-shaped, lime-coloured flowers in spring. It’s ideal for growing in a sunny border or gravel garden.