There are a number of Euphorbia plant varieties, the Spurges we will concentrate on are the reliably Evergreen sports commonly for sale in the UK.
Euphorbia are unusual in that the flowers look more like leaves than flowers, however it is the foliage that sets this plant apart. Colours can cover reds, greens, white, yellows and purples and are suited to a number of conditions.
Shade Tolerant Euphorbias
I have experimented with growing Euphorbia in the shade, specifically dry shade with positive results. Dry shade is a problem for most gardeners. Trying to fill that area that doesn't get much moisture and is overshadowed by larger plants.
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. Robbiae and to a lesser extent Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea' are both often described as shade loving but they do just as well in full sun.
Robbiae is often referred to as a bit of a garden thug due to the way it spreads with underground runners in a very similar way to Bamboo. The roots are however shallow and the plant is easily dug up if it gets out of hand and have never found it a problem to control.
As mentioned earlier Euphorbias come in a diverse range of colours that will add variety and interest year round in your garden.
Here are some of the hardy evergreen varieties that I have grown.
Euphorbia amygdaloides purpurea
Euphorbia x martinii ascot rainbow
Euphorbia characias silver swan
Euphorbia characias glacier blue
The unusual leaf bract type flowers may not be immediately recognised as a flower. On mass they can provide a bright visual display although the unusual appearance may not be to everyones taste.
As I mentioned earlier Euphorbia is grown for the evergreen foliage which can be more colourful than the floral display.
Here are a few images of the plants I grow during their flowering period.
Close up of Euphorbia Flowers
Euphorbia x martinii Ascot Rainbow in Flower
Euphorbia characias Silver Swan in Flower
Euphorbia amygdaloides var robbiae in Flower
Various Euphorbias Flowering
Various Euphorbias Flowering
E. purpurea with its contrasting green flowers to the red and purple foliage is one of my favourites.
Euphorbias Flowering in a Tropical Garden
Euphorbia cultivars that are hardy and evergreen are a useful addition to creating a tropical looking garden. Grown among and under other tropical plants they can tolerate both shade and dry.
Evergreen Euphorbias and Hardiness
As you may or may not know I only grow evergreens that can survive a typical British climate. This means I have a lush and tropical looking garden that can be enjoyed year round, even in the depths of winter. Euphobia adds year round colour and certain are even hardy in the extreme North of England and Scotland.
Euphorbia are a large group of plant which also include the cactus types and deciduous (lose their leaves in winter) sports. The varieties I grow and are talked about here are evergreen and hardy in the UK. In fact the likes of Euphobia Robbiae and Purpurea are rated H6 by the RHS which means they can take temperatures down to -20°c.
Other cultivars such as Silver Swan and Glacier Blue should still be able to tolerate cold weather reportedly down to -10°c but may suffer damage in really cold weather. I can atest to them showing no damage at short periods of -5°c.
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. Robbiae
The master of shade and dry soil, this plant can grow almost anywhere and will tolerate the dry shady ground at the base of much larger plants or trees.
I have tested them to destruction having grown them in shallow pots, in a rain shadow in the shade. Having never watered the pots they tolerated their conditions quite well only giving up after getting no rain (or watering) at all over the early part of the summer of 2017.
After moving the pots out of the rain shadow (too close to the wall where the rain did not hit the ground) they did fair much better. I can only imagine succulents performing any better moisture wise.
Robbiae, the Wood spurge displays luscious new growth adding to the tropical plant effect (link to tropical plants page) growing well under Palms or others difficult areas.
It copes equally well in a British winter with an RHS hardiness rating of H6 which is down to -20°C without suffering any frost damage to the foliage in either sheltered or exposed locations.
Due to its dense knee high growing habit it is also great for covering ground to suppress weeds and fill spaces.
Wood spurge is one of the three plants for dry shade that I have found do well and even flourish. The other two are the Rubus tricolor and Pachysandra terminalis, both pictured.