Euphorbia polychroma

This sturdy sub-shrub is a perfect cushion plant for the front of a mixed border or shrub bed. It is always handsome, being evergreen and prolific of sulphur-yellow flowers on red stalks in spring. When the brilliant flowers have faded, they do not drop, but turn first green and later tawny red, adding colour to the garden in autumn; there is no need to cut them down until mid-winter, (What look like yellow petals are, technically, bracts, but this is immaterial to the non-botanical gardener.) The plant is hardy, reliable, and a weed-suppressor. It is sometimes listed as E. epithymoides.

There is a strong case for having cushion plants in the front of a bed, for they always look neat and save a lot of weeding, and the rounded shapes of sedum, alchemilla, epimedium and this euphorbia make a substantial foreground to the spires of summer perennials which will follow. Large adjoining clumps of E. polychroma and one of the epimediums, planted 3 feet (90 cm) apart, would give some pleasant russet foliage in autumn, for the narrow euphorbia leaves turn red and those of the epimedium bronze.

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