Pruning euphorbia

jan_on zone 5bMay 15, 2012

I have a euphorbia amygdaloides 'Ruby Glow'. Various pruning information I have found seems to suggest either trimming to just below the blooms since it blooms on old wood, or removing the bloom stalks completely to the base. So - which? Does anyone have the definitive answer?


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I've grown all manner of hardy evergreen euphorbias for years and always remove the old flower stalk at the base of the plant (or as close to it as possible). These will never produce flowers again but can sprout some new shoots along their length that can become flowering stems down the road. However, a full or more complete removal results in a stockier and more robust plant. By the time you remove the old flower stems, the plant has produced new basal growth that will become the next season's flower stems.

The only exception I'd make for this is with Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiea, or Mrs Robbs Bonnet, which is a spreading, suckering variety ideally suited to dry shade. Pruning these individually takes more effort than I'd care to spend and since they are suckering anyway, a stockier plant is not really of any additional value.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 4:54PM
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jan_on zone 5b

Thanks gardengal, that's exactly what I need to know. I would like to keep this plant in a rather limited space, so serious pruning makes sense.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Ruby Glow should stay put without worry. It is not the most robust euphorb I've grown (IME, the darker the foliage, the less hardy the plant) and doesn't seem to produce any stoloniferous growth. Robbiea, on the otherhand, spreads aggressively via stolons, especially in better soil and plenty of irrigation and is often sold as an evergreen groundcover for difficult situations. There is some thought that robbiea is a distinct species of its own, since its growth habit is markedly different from other amygdaloides selections.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:03PM
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