Euphorbia cyparissias (Spurge)

I grew this spurge from seed quite a few years ago and although the label has long since disappeared, I am pretty certain it is called Euphorbia cyparissias. I love its long season of interest, starting in the spring with the fresh lime green foliage, followed by the acid yellow bracts which age to red. In the autumn the foliage turns a lovely pink colour before dying back for the winter.

Euphorbia cyparissias

Fresh lime green foliage and acid yellow flowers of Euphorbia cyparissias

It looks gorgeous planted amongst plants with strongly contrasting colours. I have planted it next to Ajuga reptans ‘atropurpurea’ and the dark purple leaves and blue flowers look wonderful against the Euphorbia. This black aquilegia also looked rather splendid bobbing above the frothy yellow flowers.

Euphorbia cyparissias and Ajuga retans

Euphorbia cyparissias and Ajuga reptans make a great colour combination

Euphorbia and aquilegia

This almost-black aquilegia looked stunning against the acid yellow of the Euphorbia

This is a bomb-proof plant, being slug and snail proof and tolerant of drought and poor soils.

When gardening around Euphorbias, it is also a good idea to wear gloves and a long sleeved top, as the milky sap is poisonous and can cause adverse skin reactions. I like these Draper gardening gloves, as they are lightweight and because they are made from tough cotton, they don’t make your hands all sweaty like some gardening gloves.

The autumn hues of Euphorbia cyparissias

The autumn hues of Euphorbia cyparissias

Euphorbia cyparissias grows approximately 30 cms high and spreads by rhizomes to form  a thick, attractive ground cover. I have planted it in some fairly light soil where it is easy to pull up and I regularly do so, to control its spread. I also have it planted in a pot. I wouldn’t want to grow it in my clay soil borders, where it would be much more difficult to control. It can self-seed and in some parts of America it is considered an invasive species.

Euphorbia cyparissias is also known as Bonaparte’s crown and Cypress spurge amongst others.

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