Euphorbia characias subsp. characias

Mediterranean Spurge

A bold, architectural plant, Euphorbia characias subsp. characias is a large, vigorous, clump-forming, evergreen perennial, with an upright, rounded, shrubby habit. It produces upright stems, densely clothed with small, oblong to slightly pointed, blue-green leaves arranged spirally round the stem. From its second spring, in May and June, it produces large, cylindrical spires of yellow-green flowers, each with a red-brown eye, and good for pollinators. The flowering stems should be cut back to the base when they go over, but it’s important to wear gloves, as the milky sap of spurges causes photosensitivity – you’ll burn in the sun wherever you’ve been splashed with it. Mediterranean spurge is a good structural plant, and especially good in a gravel garden. It seeds about mildly, but the seedlings are easy to lift and can be used to fatten up the planting. Drought-resistant once established.

Site: Sheltered preferred, but will tolerate some exposure
Soil: Any light, well-drained soil
Position: Full sun
Season of interest: All year, late spring to early summer in particular
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height: 4’ (1.2m) Spread: 4’ (1.2m) in 2-5 years

Photos by Rob Hodgkins, Teresa Grau Ros, and Hans Hillewaert and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 and 3.0.
Type | Size: Pot | 9cm
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