Hardy Spurges are the poor relations of the showy Poinsettias which brighten homes at Christmas time. The outdoor varieties serve as border, rockery and ground cover plants, succeeding in sun and shade, in rich and poor soils, and requiring little attention. There are evergreen types bearing bluish green foliage throughout the year and all bear insignificant flowers surrounded by bracts. Unfortunately these bracts are small and with a single exception are either yellow or green. No showpiece then, but a useful workhorse in the herbaceous border.

VARIETIES: E. polychroma (E. epithymoides) grows 1.5 ft high. Producing sulphur yellow flowers in April and May. E. robbiae bears yellow flowers at the same time of the year and should be planted 1.5 ft apart. In addition to these ground cover plants there is the tiny and evergreen E. myrsinites (6 in., yellowish green flowers in May). At the other end of the scale E. wulfenii grows 4 ft tall and for colour grow E. griffithii ‘Fireglow’ which bears flame-coloured bracts in May and June.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Plant cuttings in a cold frame in spring or divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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