Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Euphorbia, Will I See You in Spring?

I consider myself lucky to have been able to enjoy my Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' (Cushion Spurge)for a second year. While this perennial succulent is classified as zone 6, it is frequently sold by the big box stores here in zone 5. I knew it was a gamble when I purchased it, but it was on sale for under $2 a plant, so it was worth the risk. Luckily, we had an unusually mild winter, and I have it placed in a somewhat protected spot next to my potager wall. It survived!

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow' has done really well in my garden for the last two years. Its form is distinctive, with the whirled leaf pattern and upright habit. And the color, wow! In spring and summer the leaves are a variegated chartreuse and dark green, turning to pink and burgundy in fall. The summer flower is cream, lime and green, and seems to hover in a cloud above the plant. And it's evergreen and has never needed supplemental watering!

But alas, I might have to say goodbye this year, depending on the harshness of the coming winter. I've given it some extra leaf mulch at the base to give it a better chance. A better choice might have been Euphorbia 'Bonfire', which is used by Roy Diblik in his landscape at the Art Institute in Chicago, and is classified zone 5.

These shots were taken in July, when it's red color really stands out against the bright greens of Sesleria autumnalis (Autumn Moor Grass) and Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie Dropseed). I might have to use this in my front yard when I go grassless, as it really fills in densly, shading out weeds.

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1 comment:

  1. I am with you, Tina. I have no luck with Euphorbia (or any plant that requires a babysitter) but it sure is gorgeous. Wishing you luck with it next year!