A Year of Euphorbias

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ is capable of an exceptionally long season in zone 10, basically year-round.
And not just spitting out a few blooms, but flourishing.

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A cultivar of E. hypericifolia, it is a true perennial here in zone 10. Extremely drought tolerant and handles my heavy clay soil well. In colder zones, it has become a go-to component of summer container schemes, quite an amazing step up for a common U.S. weed known by such names as Black Purslane, Milk Purslane, Eye-Bright. (I can’t imagine how any euphorbia with its irritating sap could earn a moniker like “Eye-Bright.” unless red eyes are considered bright.)

Not much to look at up close, EDF is all about supporting the team. It has never self-sown in my garden. In fact, there is very little information available on starting it from seed. As far as I can tell, unless gardeners in colder zones take cuttings, new plants must be purchased each year (the perfect trademark plant!) Last year I trialed a new cultivar with bronzy leaves, ‘Breathless Blush, a complete nonstarter, in my garden at least.

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While EDF froths and foams year-round, Euphorbia rigida is on the typical euphorbia calendar, beginning bloom late winter/early spring in zone 10.

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In summer EDF’s growth is more dense, more floriferous,, but the open ground of winter provides enough elbow room for this little euphorbia to cleverly hike itself up amongst these plants to grab its share of winter sunshine. (Amicia zygomeris, phlomis, salvia, and prostrantherum.) I admire plants that show initiative like that.

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7 Responses to A Year of Euphorbias

  1. Scott says:

    When I first moved to Portland, I had never seen a Euphorbia before and wasn’t very impressed. I must say, the longer I live here and the more varieties i see, the more I’ve come to really love them…that E. rigida is gorgeous!

  2. Pam/Digging says:

    I’m becoming a big euphorbia fan, but in Austin the available varieties don’t approach what you Californians can grow. I do grow ‘Diamond Frost’ as an annual and gopher plant as a perennial; they both do great here. I’m trying ‘Blackbird,’ which I had to order online, but with poor results so far.

  3. Laguna Dirt says:

    believe it or not, i just noticed this sweet little plant in some pots outside an office yesterday. i love it’s lacy quality. and now i know the name!

  4. Grace says:

    Hooray for Euphorbias! If I could grow EDF year round, I surely wood but it’s a tenderfoot here. I love the plants you have surrounding yours, Denise. Very nice.

  5. I’ve grown Diamond Frost for maybe three years now. The first year was amazing, but I ended up taking out the first plant after it showed no lust for life after the second year. I found that the plant was super-easy from cuttings, and a couple cuttings are hanging on the in the garden, looking surprising good for January.

  6. Denise says:

    Scott, the euphorbias do really “grow” on you. I’d love to grow E. griffithii, but it wants the kind of water you get up in Portland!
    Pam, there’s so many euphorbias, there’s gotta be one that likes Austin.
    LD, it’s not often seen in public/commercial landscapes, but then Laguna Beach is always way ahead of the curve!
    Grace, glad you like my shrubby stuff!
    James, it’d be interesting to learn how much money a plant patent can earn — from what I can tell, EDF is widely grown now across the U.S.

  7. Hello – my name is Danielle Ernest. I am the public relations coordinator for Proven Winners who introduced Diamond Frost Euphorbia. This euphorbia is grown and sold as an annual form – the others that you mentioned are perennial form. As you noted this plant is protected and cuttings should not be taken as it is similar to downloading free music from an artist. Plant royalties are paid to breeders who have spent years working on and creating that variety that so many of us love. So please give credit where credit is do! Thanks for loving Diamond Frost so much and writing about her! We really appreciate your kind words.

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