Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two Plants with Great Foliage

For years, I hesitated on adding Euphorbia to my garden, because I read somewhere that certain varieties were invasive. I am weary from battles with uncontrollable invaders and always hesitant to add new or unknown plants that could prove to be problematic. 

Then some glossy gardening magazine shots and a recommendation of Euphorbia polychroma from Canadian gardening celebrity Marjorie Harris made me reconsider. 

So, I bought a few varieties of Euphorbia to try in my own garden.

The first is Euphorbia polychroma 'First Blush'. It is nicely compact (30-40 cm) and has pretty white and green foliage, with a hint of pink. This is the third year for it in the garden and I love its variegation when mixed in with other sun loving perennials. 

This spring, it is looking a bit worse for ware after our particularly long winter, but I am hoping it will come along as soon as the weather warms a bit more.

The second plant is Euphorbia poly 'Bonfire' and it has quickly become a favorite. The plant is a chameleon: emerging foliage in spring is yellow, orange and lime with burgundy undertones.

Then, brackets of tiny yellow flowers tipped with orangy-red appear in late May. 

In fall, the leaves turn a beautiful shade of crimson. 

'Bonfire' has a neat, mounded shape and is nicely compact at 40 cm tall. Mine is in full sun, but 'Bonfire' can apparently take part shade.

New to the garden this spring, is Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow', which I had made note of after reading a few recommendations on blog posts. I hope to find a sunny spot for it in the front garden.

The next plant that I recommend for interesting foliage actually has a flower, but I grow it because I love its soft, feathery leaves and wacky looking seed heads. Pasque flower 'Pulsatilla' or wind flower is a plant I first admired in my mother's garden when I was home (Nova Scotia). 

Here is a seed head in late spring.

A rather weird looking seed head in fall. It is almost a bit creepy isn't it?

The foliage and flower stems are soft and feathery.

I now have a plum and a red colored plant. (There is also a white variety, but I lost mine and have to replace it). I have had mine for two or three years now and can tell you they make a nice dense mound, perfect for the front of a sunny border.


  1. Beautiful colours and textures. I have a theory about variegated and specialty colours - that they are MUCH less invasive than native species. If my theory is true, then you are safe. Both of your euphorbias are beautiful. :)

  2. Funny, I must have read the same article as you regarding euphorbias. Still don't have any although I find them extremely attractive. The two you brought home just cinch that belt tighter.

  3. The Pulsatilla is striking- the seed head is wacky I agree but I like it! Kind of resembles a passion flower. All the squiggles. Great colors today.

  4. I am with you about the invasiveness of some Euphorbias...makes me leery of having them in my garden. I did finally break down and get Ascot Rainbow...first season in the garden, so I can't tell you much about it. I like the other ones you shared. Need to look into them.

  5. I have a couple of euphorbias - ascot rainbow is one of them - and I absolutely love them. I really like that 'first blush'. What an unusual seed head on the pasque flower! I love flowers that continue to entrance after the bloom is over.

  6. I will definitely look for Euphorbia Bonfire. I had the common one years ago and loved it but it did not have interest through the summer and fall.


  7. I have added several Euphorbias in the past year including E. polychroma, E. robbiae and an annual one considered a weed I dug up from my cousin's farm as an experiment. My favorite seems to be promlematic (as in I have trouble getting to not die) and that is E. wolfenii.

  8. They are so very pretty. I have a few here but have not found the right spots for them. The winter foliage shot is very nice.

  9. I have never grown Euphorbia but I love the variegated foliage's on it.Your pictures of your are so beautiful. The Pasque Flower is a favorite of mine in the spring I have the purple and red also and I am looking to add a white one to the mix. Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Gardener's need to be reminded that the foliage of Euphorbia is as powerful as the flower of any blooming perennial.

  11. Lovely photos! Pasque Flower is an awesome plant, it does not live long for me, a couple of years or so.

  12. Your Euphorbias and Pasqueflower are beautiful! Gorgeous photos.

  13. Jennifer girl I had euphorbia in my garden quite a few years ago but now you have me thinking about it again .. especially that cultivar Bonfire !
    That is a gorgeous show of colours : )
    Funny how we can go through some plants .. put them aside for a few years and then get excited about them again ? LOL
    Joy : )
    P.S. Some how my Pasque flowers disappeared too .. I wonder if they are connected ? haha

  14. I really like the 'Bonfire' and 'Ascot Rainbow'. I have a purple leafed euphorbia that a friend gave me. It's quite a tough little thing!! The seed heads are cool!! Their weirdness is part of their appeal. :o)

  15. Hi Jennifer!
    I have yet to add a euphorbia to my garden either although I'll have to keep 'bonfire' in mind if I decide to change my mind in the future. I'm glad you're happy with their performance. It's always good to read a review from another gardener.
    I have tried pasque flowers but must not have located them correctly as they've failed to thrive.
    btw, after your last post I went out and found a double pink flowering almond. I hope it blooms as beautifully as yours next spring. Thank you for the inspiration.

  16. I do think their is a tendency to condemn sweepingly plants that are too vigorous in some locations, discouraging everyone from trying them. Euphorbias aren't invasive here in CT - I wish - and polychroma is just a fabulous plant. Glad you are liking it too!

  17. I love the photos here they are so beautiful and I really think it is great that some people can grow such beautiful plants, as I am not one of them.

  18. I love that seedhead! It's so ethereal and looks as though it exploring the air around it with its wispy 'tentacles' As always, you've provided plenty of delicious eye-candy here!


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