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Euphorbia myrsinites (Myrtle Spurge)

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Scientific Name

Euphorbia myrsinites L.

Common Names

Myrtle Spurge, Myrtle Euphorbia, Blue Spurge, Broad-leaved Glaucous Spurge, Creeping Spruge, Donkey Tail Spruge, Donkey Tail

Synonyms

Euphorbia myrsinites subsp. myrsinites, Endoisila myrsinites, Euphorbion myrsinitum, Galarhoeus myrsinites, Murtekias myrsinites, Tithymalus myrsinites

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia

Description

Euphorbia myrsinites is an attractive, low-growing, evergreen, succulent perennial. It has sprawling stems up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. The leaves are spirally arranged, fleshy, bluish-green and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. The flowers and their subtending bracts are initially greenish-yellow but deepen to a red hue by summer.

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 5a to 9b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Euphorbias are very easy to care for. These plants require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. In fact, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect. Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerant wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don't let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly.

These succulents can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). They are usually propagated by cuttings. This can be tricky, because of the exuding sap. Rooting hormone is recommended with Euphorbias. They tend to grow problem free, but there are a few pests and diseases to be alert for.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.

Origin

Euphorbia myrsinites is native to southeastern Europe and Asia Minor, from Italy east through the Balkans to the Crimea and Turkey.

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