EU­PHOR­BIA FOR A SPLASH OF SPRING COLOUR

EDP Norfolk - - GARDEN GUIDE -

With spring al­most upon us, March is a busy month in the gar­den. Shrubs such as camel­lia, for­sythia and daphne are all show­ing colour and many of the early bulbs are in full bloom.

Much of the herba­ceous bor­der, how­ever, is still wak­ing from its win­ter slum­ber, so it’s good to add a splash of colour with some ev­er­greens and early flow­er­ers.

One of my favourite groups of plants for this are eu­phor­bias, a di­verse genus of plants with va­ri­eties and species for ev­ery as­pect and soil type.

Eu­phor­bia poly­chroma is one of the bright­est. It forms a small mound of lon­glast­ing vivid yel­low flow­ers and bracts which re­ally zing out in the spring bor­der.

De­spite only grow­ing to around 45cm it can be a lit­tle un­tidy af­ter flow­er­ing so when its flow­ers have faded in early sum­mer cut back to around 10cm to main­tain a com­pact bushy plant.

A more re­cent in­tro­duc­tion is Euphor­bis characias ‘Taz­ma­nian Tiger’ a larger sun-lov­ing ev­er­green eu­phor­bia with grey­green leaves which have a thick creamy­white edge.

In spring the stems are topped with large flower heads of creamy-white bracts with a green eye.

To keep them look­ing good prune out the dead and old stems of E.characias va­ri­eties in win­ter as they will pro­duce new shoots from the base each year. For a con­trast in fo­liage Eu­phor­bia ‘Black­bird’ is well worth a try; it has vel­vety dark pur­ple ev­er­green fo­liage on red stems topped in spring with heads of dark pur­ple bracts and yel­low flow­ers.

It’s best grown in full sun for the strong­est colour.

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