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Herbaceous Perennial

Euphorbia characias subsp. characias
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

Mediterranean spurge [2]

E. characias subsp. characias is a bold, evergreen perennial producing strong, upright or curving stems, densely-clothed with blue-green foliage. In their second spring the stems produce large, cylindrical clusters of yellow-green flowers with a dark red eye that last into summer

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Yellow Blue Green
Summer Green Yellow Blue Green
Autumn Blue Green
Winter Blue Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Drought resistance
Yes
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
All parts are highly toxic by ingestion, sap may irritate skin and eyes. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Euphorbia can be annuals, perennials, shrubs or succulents, with milky sap and small flowers held within cupped, often colourful bracts

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Mediterranean

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in well-drained, light soil in full sun

Propagation

Propagate by division in early spring or take basal cuttings in spring or early summer; dip cut surfaces in charcoal or lukewarm water to prevent bleeding

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Coastal
  • Gravel garden
  • Architectural
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut back flowered shoots to ground level in late summer or autumn

Pests

Prone to aphids

Diseases

Generally disease free

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