Designer Plants - March 2018

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Designer Plants - March 2018

01 March 2018


As the sun starts to strengthen and the days get a little bit longer the first of the spring flowering plants are coming to life. One of the most useful for the Garden Designer is the Euphorbia characias subsp. Wulfenii. As with many of my ‘Designer Plant’ choices, its usefulness stems mainly from its architectural qualities. This evergreen sub-shrub can grow to 1.5m high (5 ft) and 1.2m wide (4ft), and its shape and growth habit make it quite a striking prospect in any mixed sunny border.

Whorling up each stem from the base of the plant are thick elongated evergreen leaves. These leaves usually have a slightly glaucus texture which contrasts wonderfully with the bright lime green of the ‘flower heads’ or bracts. The actual flowers have small reddish centres, adding another interesting contrast to the pallete. The shape and colour of this Euphorbia would contrast nicely with any earlier flowering blues or purples, such as Pulmonaria or Hellebores.     

Euphorbias, in general, are pretty tough plants that will usually grow in a wide variety of places.  The ‘Wulfenii’ is from the Mediterranean and therefore prefers sunnier conditions. Once established it can be grown in fairly dusty dry soil, even thriving in rock or gravel gardens.  As long as it isn’t too wet or in too much shade it will be quite happy and only require a little pruning to shape and to improve flowering.

One word of warning is that the sap from the stems is poisonous and can be an irritant. Please take extra care when planting and pruning. However, this goes for many popular plants grown in gardens up and down the country.



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