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How to Grow Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

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Cushion spurge – botanical name Euphorbia epitbymoides – creates symmetrical dense mounds of pale green leaves topped with chartreuse flowerlike bracts. Cushion spurge brings a splash of bright color to the garden from spring well into summer. Foliage turns deep red foliage in autumn. Cushion spurge is one of the longest lived and easiest-to-care-for perennials.

Cushion spurge is a perennial that forms mounds of small green leaves on upright stems. Cushion spurge is best planted in groups and at the front of beds.

Get to know Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: 4-8
  • Hardiness: Hardy
  • Height and width: 12”- 18” tall; 12”- 18” wide
  • Flowers: Bright yellow flowers surround chartreuse bracts; foliage turns shades of purple, red, yellow, and orange in fall
  • Bloom time: Mid-spring
  • Light: Full sun in the North; afternoon shade in the South.
  • Uses: Place at the front of borders or use as edging plant; grows well in containers; combine with spring-blooming bulbs, hardy geraniums, and blue plumbago
  • Botanical name: Euphorbia polychrome (Euphorbia epithymoides)
  • Common name: Cushion Spurge

Where to plant Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

  • Plant cushion spurge in full sun in Zones 4-6 and Pacific Northwest; plant in shade in Zones 7-8.
  • Grow plant spurge in sandy, well-drained soil.
Cushion spurge, Euphorbia polychroma
Cushion spurge, Euphorbia polychroma

When to plant Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

  • Set out established plants in spring or fall.

Planting and spacing Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

  • Space cushion spurge 12 to 18 inches apart.

How to water and feed Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia

  • Give cushion spurge moderate water; established plants can tolerate drought.
  • Fertilize cushion spurge occasionally.

Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia care

  • Mulch around cushion spurge to conserve soil moisture.
  • Cushion spurge can become invasive in moist soil.
  • Divide cushion spurge when plants become floppy, every few years.
  • Cushion spurge is commonly pest and disease-free.
  • Plant sap may cause rash. May be invasive in moist soil.

Cushion Spurge – Euphorbia propagation

  • Plant container-grown plants in spring, spacing 2 feet apart. Take cuttings after flowering, removing flowering tips. Divide only when mature plants become leggy or floppy.

Euphorbia epitbymoides similar species

  • Euphorbia palustris, 3 feet tall, yellow-green bracts.
  • E. myrsinites resembles a succulent with silvery gray leaves arranged spirally around creeping stems, yellow bracts. Zones 5-9.

Garden Spurge – Euphorbia garden use

  • Use Cushion Spurge Euphorbia epitbymoides in foreground of formal beds and borders.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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