Euphorbia Myrsinites (Myrtle Spurge) Care Guide

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Euphorbia myrsinites is known for its spirals of bluish-green leaves and gorgeous chartreuse flowers that are surrounded by bright yellow bracts, which grow on trailing stems. The flowers of this plant bloom mostly in spring. This plant is native to Asia Minor and Southeastern Europe.

Two common names of this plant are Myrtle Spurge and Donkey Tail. Euphorbia myrsinites is a perennial succulent species belonging to the plant family Euphorbiaceae. Their genus is both perennial and annual succulent.

This broad-leaved glaucous-spurge is recognized as an invasive species or a noxious weed, so it’s banned in some US states. So, be careful when you grow and handle your sprawling myrsinites – but realize it’s a great xeriscaping plant!

Quick Care

Close-up of Euphorbia myrsinites
The spiral growth of this plant is mesmerizing. Source: eriwst
Common Name(s): Donkey tail spurge, myrtle spurge, blue spurge, creeping spurge
Scientific NameEuphorbia myrsinites
Family:Euphorbiaceae
Zone:5-9
Height & Spread:6-12″ tall and wide
LightFull sun
SoilNormal, sandy soil
Water:Low
Pests & Diseases:Aphids, mealybugs

In the UK, Euphorbia myrsinites has been granted the Royal Horticulture Society’s Award of Garden Merit. You can plant these succulent plants in your rock gardens or in terracotta pots or containers. You can also plant them along your driveway as they offer an impressive, sprawling ground cover.

Myrtle Spurge Care

Large donkey tail spurge plant growing in the garden
Don’t let myrtle spurge get out of control in your garden. Source: FarOutFlora

Light & Temperature

This plant thrives to the fullest when planted under full sun. It can grow in USDA hardiness zones from 5 to 9.

Water & Humidity

This succulent plant is drought tolerant. It needs minimal watering. Make sure that you don’t over-water your myrsinites as it will kill your plant. Water only when the soil is dry to several inches.

Soil

Your plant will easily grow in dry and hot areas that have poor soil. In fact, it prefers to grow in well-draining sandy or gravelly soil and is very tolerant of dry soil.

Fertilizer

This plant is technically an invasive plant species and rarely needs fertilizers to thrive.

Repotting

Repot your plant when it starts growing out of its existing container, nothing too special about the process.

Propagation

Since donkey tail spurge is an invasive plant species, it rapidly self-propagates via spreading its seeds. However, you can also propagate it via cuttings that will root easily in late spring and early summer during the growing season.

Pruning

Euphorbia myrsinites pruning becomes a necessity if you want to counter their invasive nature. After blooming, in the spring and summer seasons, you can trim back your plant’s stems severely.

This will prevent your plant from rapidly spreading and allow it to flower consistently. When a blooming stem of your myrsinites euphorbia starts to turn yellow, simply clip it off at the base with clean pruning shears.

Troubleshooting

Here are a few problems that you might face when growing your euphorbia spurge.

Your plant might spread and take over your entire garden if you don’t prune it in time. So, make sure that you prune the “noxious weed” right after it blooms to prevent it from self-propagating at a rapid pace. Also, make sure that you don’t over-water it as soggy soil will kill your plant.

Pests

This plant is susceptible to pests such as aphids and mealybugs. For mealybugs, treat your plant with neem oil spray. As for aphids, make sure that your succulent is planted in well-drained soil. Allow your soil to dry between two rounds of watering.

Diseases

Your plant can suffer from bacterial and fungal rots when grown in moist conditions, so make sure to plant it in medium dry, well-drained soil.

FAQs

Q. When should I prune my Euphorbia plants?

A. You need to prune your plant when you see that your blooming stems are starting to turn yellow.

Q. Where do Donkey Tail plants grow?

A. Native to Eurasia, these plants will grow almost anywhere that conditions are right, hence why they are considered invasive by many states.

Q. Are Myrtle spurge plants poisonous?

A. All parts of this plant are considered to be poisonous. Its milky white sap is poisonous if ingested – it can cause severe gastric pain. Also, make sure to wear protective gloves and eye-wear when handling this plant to prevent skin rashes.


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu
Founder

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