Perennial Overview: Cushion Spurge


Discover how to grow Spurge with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, and  pests and diseases.

Spurge Stats at a Glance

Botanical Name: Euphorbia polychroma

Height: 12-18 inches

Soil Conditions:  Well-drained, sandy, average

Sun: Full sun/partial shade

Soil pH Conditions: 5.8-6.5

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Spurge from Seed?

Cushion spurge can be propagated through seed and division.

Division. Cushion spurge does not need to be divided often.  It should be divided in the spring, summer, or early fall.  After many years of growth, may develop a central woody clump that should be removed and discarded.  When dividing, divide from the outside of the plant.

Seed. Cushion spurge can be directly sown into the garden as soon as the soil has warmed in the spring.  Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil and gently tamp to ensure contact with the soil.  They require light for germination so do not cover them with soil.  Keep the seedbed moist (not wet) until germination occurs.

To start indoors, fill individual peat pots with a fertile commercial soil starter and moisten.  Sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the soil. Press them lightly into the soil to ensure contact with growing medium. Place in a room with a constant temperature of 70-75°F.  Cover with clear plastic wrap to maintain the soil moisture and temperature.  Keep the soil moist.  When seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and transplant seedlings to individual pots.  Acclimate prior to planting.


Time to Germination: 28-56 days
Light/Darkness Requirements:
Optimal Temp. for Germination: 40-50°F



When Do I Plant Spurge?

Set transplants or sow seeds after the last frost and the soil has reached at least 68°F.

Soil Temperature: 68°F


Where Do I Plant Spurge?

Cushion spurge prefers to be planted in the shade in areas with hot climates. Spurge plants perform best in sandy, well-drained soil with average fertility.


Soil Conditions:  Well-drained, sandy, average
Sun Exposure: Full sun/partial shade
Soil pH: 5.8-6.5


How Far Apart Do I Plant Spurge?

Space plants 18” apart.

Spurge Plant Care and Maintenance

Once established, most perennials require very little routine care and maintenance.

How Often Should I Water Spurge?

For many perennials, average rainfall is sufficient to keep the plants healthy.  Supplementation may be necessary in droughty conditions.

Cushion spurge does prefer an adequate amount of moisture, but can be allowed to dry out between watering.

Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease.  Drip irrigation is best.

Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.


Should I Fertilize Spurge?

Most perennials do not require a specific fertilization regiment.  Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained and you feel that your perennial bed would benefit from fertilization, keep it light.  Work in a small amount of a low nitrogen fertilizer.

Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base. Irrigate into the soil.

Be aware that if the soil has enough nutrients to begin with, fertilizing will encourage foliage growth at the expense of the blooms.


Additional Care Instructions

Cut the plants back following flowering to encourage further blooming and a bushy habit.

Spurge Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include: no major disease problems.

Spurge Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include aphids, mealybugs, nematodes, and spider mites.


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