Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii
- available to order from summer
- 9cm pot
- Position: full sun
- Soil: light, well-drained garden soil
- Rate of growth: fast growing
- Flowering period: March to May
- Hardiness: fully hardy
This handsome euphorbia has upright stems clothed with whorls of fleshy, glaucous leaves and topped with huge heads of chartreuse-green flowers with bronze 'eyes' from March to May. The Edwardian garden designer Gertrude Jekyll described this sun-loving, evergreen shrub as 'one of the grandest of plants'. Euphorbia characias originates from the Mediterranean, where it is found on dry rocky slopes and scrubland, so it is very tolerant of drought once it becomes established. It forms a natural rounded shape, and brings structure and an architectural quality to the garden. A tall mainstay of the traditional herbaceous border, it's equally at home in a contemporary minimalist or gravel garden. It may self-seed, but plants rarely come true from seed.
- Garden care: Each stem is biennial, so will produce leaves in its first year and flower in its second. Once the stem has produced a flower it should be cut right back to its base, or to a point where there is new growth emerging, in midsummer. This will make way for lots of new, fresh shoots. When working with spurges always wear gloves since the milky sap is poisonous and a potential skin irritant. Remove seedlings as they appear.