EUPHORBIA FOR A SPLASH OF SPRING COLOUR
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.