Spurges. It’s a funny name, right? Not to be confused with sponges, spurges are actually an interesting perennial that are super simple to care for, so they would make a great addition to any gardener’s collection! To help you get more acquainted with this plant and its fascinating foliage, we thought it would be a good idea to outline some of the most surprising facts about spurges. Then, hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll be ready to plant your own!
Here Are Some Things You Didn’t Know About Spurges:
They have cool, green-yellow flowers!
Perhaps the most defining quality of spurges is their intriguing flowers and richly-hued leaves. Spurge flowers typically begin as green, then chartreuse before turning yellow. But the spring “flowers” on this plant actually aren’t really flowers at all! They are tiny, colored leaves, called bracts — a very cool way to mix up the colours in your garden.
They change colours!
There are more than 2,000 varieties of spurges, but most of them share a colour-changing quality. Since they are perennials, they come back each year. Throughout the year, flowers initially provide bright yellow colour but the foliage color on many can be green, variegated or turn maroon-red over the seasons, as with the spurge named Bonfire, so your landscape will have endless interest all year long.
They are winter hardy!
What’s not to love about a winter hardy perennial? You have a smaller chance of killing spurges thanks to how tough they are, which is great news for newbies. Garden zones 4 through 8 are great for spurges to thrives, and in warmer, southerly zones, the plants are evergreen!
They are perfect for borders!
If you’re not sure where to place your spurges, start at your borders. These quirky flowers look great outlining pathways and greeting guests at the front door because of all their vibrant colours and ability to stay alive for most of the year.
They are also known as Euphorbia!
When you’re at the garden center scoping out spurges, be sure to look for their scientific name as well: Euphorbia. Also keep in mind that there are lots of varieties of Euphorbias, so what you find may be very different than what you expected. (Another fun fact: Poinsettias are one of the most popular Euphorbia varieties.)
They are deer resistant and drought tolerant!
Just as much as we love winter hardy perennials, it’s an even bigger plus that spurges are additionally resistant to deers and drought. So it really is tough to kill these fun flowers, which makes growing them that much more fun.
Care for Spurges
If you’re ready to bring these bold blooms to your own landscape, take heed to the below care instructions. They may be tough to kill, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Following these steps should help you keep your Euphoria plants happy for a long time.
- Should be divided and propagated every two to three years in either early fall or spring
- Cut back plants by at least one-third after flowering is over
- Wear gloves when handling them; the milky sap is an irritant
- They generally love sun, but some may tolerate a little shade
- Soil with good drainage is a plus, though they aren’t picky
Of course, as with most plants, the care will differ a little depending on the variety and the region you live in. Be sure to consult any instructions that come with your spurges as well.
That just about covers it for spurges! Pretty cool, right? For more great plant tips like these make sure you join Rozanne’s Inner Circle to get gardening advice delivered straight to your inbox.