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Euphorbia characias subsp 'wulfenii -also Lambrook Gold

This particular 'spurge - Euphorbia characias Wulfenii is a must-have plant for any garden.

Arguably it is a shrub, but near enough for us to include as an evergreen perennial.

This Euphorbia is one of the larger of the group for UK plantings - reaching a height of 1 metre or more depending upon care and situation and a spread of slightly more than that. As well as a prominent place in the perennial border, it is not out of place in shrub border - or large container.

Silver grey foliage - more silver when young, then moving into flower on long spikes at end of winter and into early spring and thereafter through into summer. It has several interesting stages of flowering - stating off with the drooping heads as shown in the image below.

It is quite happy in a dry sunny spot, though preferring soil enriched with organic matter. A regular autumn mulch will be suitable. It will also thrive in dappled shade though not too happy in dense shade.

The winter flowering Spurge Euphorbia characias Wulfenii flowers in the hardest of winter. The foliage on this Euphorbia give all year round interest.It will retain its shape - quite uniform and tidy - if some of the flowered growths are removed a the base. This ensures a ready supply of new tall leafy canes. 

I know that it is still in bud and not yet in flower, but a whole 'bush' of these Euphorbia characias Wulfenii flower buds is quite attractive - believe me! When in flower - even better still.
Euphorbia xharacias subsp. 'wulfenii' is in reality classed as a sub shrub. We will claim it as a sub perennial!

 The upright growth can grow to 1.2m, though 90cm is probably the norm. (Cut out the flowered shoots - quite hard - right after flowering).  Best in well drained light soil - full sun, but will put up with dappled shade.

If growing in a container, be aware that it will get top heavy and be prone to falling over and taking the container with it in windy conditions. The top of the plant is quite dense at all times of the year, though lower stems can be bare - and suited to having lower growing plants growing at the base.

It is particularly nice with frosted leaves - especially if light source is coming from behind or from side.

The flowers are bright yellow when matured, and last well, into the summer. Each bloom truss made up from many individual florets.

Euphorbia characias subsp wulfeniiIf the plant gets out of control after a few years or outgrows its situation, it can be pruned back hard after flowering has ceased. this is best done by removing about half of the flowered growths at the base, then the remaining half after new growth is seen to appear from the base of the plant.

Like all Euphorbias, Euphorbia characias Wulfenii will cause severe discomfort if eaten, and the milky sap can irritate if in contact with skin. (Careful when pruning and be sure to wear gloves, and goggles. Any milky sap in contact with the skin is best washed off immediately.). 

Euphorbia characias -  is showier, with large trusses of rich gold flowers which are more rounded than Euphorbia characias wulfenii. If anything it is slightly dwarfer in habit - slightly! The best specimen I have seen was in a raised brick bed - suggesting that it prefers a drier well drained spot.

Euphorbia characias Lambrook Gold






Propagation of Euphorbia Charachias

Euphorbia charachias types can be grown from seed, but are also easy to propagate from softwood basal stem cuttings in early spring. The base of the cuttings should be dipped in powdered charcoal if possible as this will help to stop the bleeding of the milky sap. Strike the cuttings in a cool place, and not too hot.

Division of the main plant is an easier way in which to get a few extra plants.

Problems of Euphorbia

There are no family-specific diseases to worry about - other than the possibility of grey mould - Botrytritis.

Aphids are the main pests, though rarely a big problem, and can be dispatched quite easily with your own particular spray method. 

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