How to Grow Perennial Euphorbia Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Spurge

Information on Euphorbia has been split into two, this section includes information on the perennial varieties.

These plants have outstanding horizontal leaves and bracts, making them a very attractive feature in borders or for use as edging plants.

They can reach heights of between 15 and 90 cm, and the flowering time depends on the species (though never in the winter.

Some common names for perennial Euphorbia members include Spurge, Flowering, Cushion, and Wood Spurge, and Scarlet Plume. Go here for information on Euphorbia Ghost Weed species.

Euphorbia polychroma
Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge) by Patrick Standish.

Quick Perennial Euphorbia Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Spurge
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial, Half hardy perennial.
  • Height: 6 to 30 inches (15 to 60 cm); perennial Euphorbia trees can reach up to 450 inches (1150 cm).
  • Native: Tropical regions: Americas, Africa. Temperate regions: Worldwide.

  • Growing Region: Perennial 3 to 9.
  • Flowers: Perennial: spring, summer or autumn.
  • Flower Details: Male and female flowers on the same plant.
  • Foliage: Leaves may be opposite, alternative or in the form of whorls
  • Sow Outside: 12 to 80 inches (30 to 200 cm).
  • Sow Inside:
    Stratify seeds by placing in a fridge for one week. Soak in water for two or three hours. Sow in peat pots. Germination time: ten days to one month. Temperature 65 to 70°F (18 to 21°C). Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
  • Requirements and care: Perennials: full sunlight or light shade. Soil pH 6 to 7. Average soil. Regular watering. Propagate: take cuttings after flowering; divide in spring in cool climates or in autumn if growing in a warm climate.
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Spurge.
  • Miscellaneous: Do not grow near water as chemicals poisonous to fish and other pond-life can leach from Euphorbia plants.
  • Commonly Grown Species of Euphorbia

    Euphorbia barnardii

    Euphorbia barnardii
    Euphorbia barnardii by DerekKeats; creative commons.

    Euphorbia echinus

    Euphorbia echinu

    Euphorbia hamata

    Euphorbia hamata

    Euphorbia heptagona

    Euphorbia heptagona

    Euphorbia horrida

    Euphorbia horrida

    Euphorbia ingens

    Euphorbia ingens
    Euphorbia ingens by Brewbooks; creative commons.

    Euphorbia kalisana

    Euphorbia kalisana

    Euphorbia obesa

    Euphorbia obesa

    Euphorbia parciramulosa

    Euphorbia parciramulosa

    Euphorbia Flowers

    Euphorbia flowers and Euphorbia parciramulosa photographs by whologwhy and Manuel Martín Vicente.

    Euphorbia polygona

    Euphorbia polygona

    Euphorbia willmaniae

    Euphorbia willmaniae

    How to Grow Spurge (Euphorbia)

    Spurge can be grown straight outdoors by sowing the seeds at a depth of 3 mm after the last frost of spring.

    They should be sown in either a sunny or partially shaded part of the garden, they prefer a poor soil (ph 6 to 7) that can be moist.

    If you prefer to start perennial Euphorbia plant species indoors first then they should be prepared about 7 or 8 weeks before they are due to be put in the garden following the last frost of spring.

    The seeds should be pretreated by placing in a refrigerator for one week, then imbibing in warm water for about two hours.

    The Spurge seeds should then be planted into peat pots. It will take about two to four weeks for the spurge seeds to germinate at 18 to 20 degrees centigrade.

    Caring for Spurge and other Perennial Euphorbia Plants in the Garden

    Once the Euphorbia is growing, more plants can be had by taking cuttings once flowering has occurred or through collecting more seed. Perennial Euphorbia plants should be watered regular while it is growing.

    Common Questions

    How many members does the Euphorbia genus have?

    The Euphorbia genus is large, consisting of about 2000 species.

    Do members of Euphorbia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

    Yes, many Euphorbia species, such as Spurge, are beloved for their unique flowers and drought-tolerant properties.

    Which Euphorbia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

    Euphorbia characias (Mediterranean Spurge) and Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia) are often grown by gardeners.

    Are members of the Euphorbia plant genus fragrant?

    Most Euphorbia species do not have fragrant flowers. However, some may have a mild or pungent odor.

    What is the perfect location to grow Euphorbia?

    Many Euphorbia species prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They're versatile and can fit in various parts of the garden.

    Is Euphorbia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

    Some Euphorbia species can be invasive in certain regions of the USA, such as Euphorbia esula (Leafy Spurge).

    How do I remove Euphorbia plants from my garden?

    Use gloves to remove Euphorbia, as they exude a milky sap that can irritate skin. Dig up the entire plant, including roots.


    The Euphorbia genus, also known as Spurge, is one of the largest and most diverse genera of flowering plants. These plants are native to all continents except Antarctica. These annuals, perennials, or shrubs are known for their unique, often colorful bracts and milky sap.

    Euphorbia plants prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or division. With their diverse forms and vibrant colors, they can add interest to borders, containers, or rock gardens. Many species are also drought-tolerant, making them excellent for xeriscaping.

    I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Euphorbia Spurge plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Euphorbiaceae growing guides: How to grow Aleurites moluccana and Ricinus plants.