Euphorbia polychroma (Cushion Spurge) is a plant that can awaken spring. I can’t remember where I discovered it, but I planted it in a garden bed I’ve been frustrated with because of the clay in the soil. I should have investigated the soil contents more before adventuring into creating a bed in this area, but my temptation to use the space was overpowering at the time. On the plus side, this lead me to testing plants that do well in clay, and this one thrives in this spot (although care instructions indicate good drainage for this plant). Perhaps the fact the soil is well-drained because it is on a hill and the balance of the clay moisture holding capacity below the soil provides a counteracted effect. Whatever the reason, it does well in full sun and in my clay-ish bed. Go figure!
This perennial is excellent for use in mixed borders or even cutting gardens. It grows fast too, reaching a height of about 12-15″ and width of 18″. But what I love about this plant the most is the intensity of the yellow bloom color completely covering the cushion habit atop its rich green foliage. It is alike a ball of sunshine in your garden bed. It is practically – well, you know – Euphoric!
The form keeps it shape too, perfectly symmetrical and fluffy. Good enough to provide a cushion seat! (Not really, but you know what I mean!). The other aspect I enjoy about this particular Euphorbia species is the unusual style of the flowers clusted at the top. In fact, the greenish flowers are unisexual. They have no petals or sepals and this is probably why they look different compared to typical flowers. (See the photo gallery below).
If you are seeking an April to May bloomer in your garden with a bright yellow bloom, this is the plant. Plus it is deer resistant too. If you find the plant gets a little too large, it is okay to shear it back by one-third to shape it after it finishes flowering. Also, if you have a really fertile garden, unlike my clay bed, this plant can be a bit aggressive, so shearing it before flowering removes potential seeds. It doesn’t get affected by serious diseases and insects and is perfect for zones 4-8. And one last note, there is a milky white sap that can seep or ooze out of the plant when cut so if you are allergic to these things, wear gloves for protection. Cathy T