Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 1291 Euphorbia graminea

Common Names: grassleaf spurge,cushion spurge Family: Euphorbiaceae (spurge Family)
Image Gallery

grassleaf spurge
'Glitz' grassleaf spurge is grown as an annual in most places where it excels as a filler plant in container plantings.

Description

Grassleaf spurge is a low growing evergreen perennial with branched, cylindrical, stems that can occasionally sprawl up to 5 ft (1.5 m). The plant grows in a billowy mound that might get a couple feet (60 cm) tall. The grayish green leaves are linear-oblong 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) in length, and mostly alternate, but becoming opposite toward the ends of the stems. The cyathia (see Features, below) are held on the tips of dichotomously branching upper stems. The distinctive three-lobed capsules are about a tenth of an inch (3.5 mm) in diameter.

‘Inneuphdia’ is a fast growing cultivar of German origin, usually sold under the trade name Diamond Frost®. It is prized for the abundant and long lasting large white bracts of its cyathia. In fact, Diamond Frost® never stops blooming. This is the most common variety of grassleaf spurge in commerce today. ‘Glitz’ is a new seed race that was developed for florists to use in arrangements. ‘Glamour’ is another variety that is propagated from seed. This one grows in a low mound and is well suited for outdoor borders and mixed hedges.

Location

Euphorbia gramineais native to the New World tropics from southern Mexico to northern South America. It has been introduced and apparently become established in Peninsular Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii and the West Indies where it grows in disturbed, weedy areas, often in urban environments. Reports suggest that grassleaf spurge will likely become a bothersome weed in the southern US in the near future.


Culture

Light: Grow grassleaf spurge in full sun for the best flowering. It tolerates part shade but won’t bloom as profusely. Moisture: Quite tolerant of dry conditions once established, grassleaf spurge does best when it gets moderate watering. It will not survive in poorly drained soils. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 12. Grassleaf spurge is tolerant of heat and can be grown as a perennial in zones 10-12. It probably is root hardy, dying back in winter and returning in spring, in zone 9. Grassleaf spurge is grown as an annual or in containers further north. Best growth occurs when temperatures stay above 62° F (17° C). Propagation: Seeds are expelled explosively from the fruit capsule when they are fully ripe, so wrap the capsules in paper or cloth if you want to harvest seeds. Sow seeds in soil 65-70° F (18-21° C) for germination in about a week. Grassleaf spurge is easy to start from stem cuttings in soil or water. The patented cultivar, Diamond Frost® does not produce viable seed and must be propagated (for personal use only!) vegetatively.

grassleaf spurge
Grassleaf spurge grows in a mound of wiry stems that hold oblong leaves and tiny white flowers.

Usage

Grassleaf spurge may look like a delicate little snowflake, but it is one tough cookie, able to withstand extreme heat, humidity, drought and even some trampling. This is a relative newcomer on the garden scene but one that surely will become very popular. Usually grown as an annual, grassleaf spurge is used in mass plantings, in borders and in front of low hedges. It makes a nice edging along a path or sidewalk. Grassleaf spurge has flowers that last from spring well into autumn. In summer set out grassleaf spurge in beds and borders, and let its billowing soft texture fill in the gaps left by less tolerant flowers. When frosty weather threatens, dig it up for an indoor container planting.

In a hanging basket, grassleaf spurge, with its showy white bracts cascading over the sides has few peers. Use grassleaf spurge in mixed containers as you would baby’s breath (Gypsophila). Try grassleaf spurge as a houseplant if you can put it where it gets lots of bright light.

Cut flowers are long lasting in water. Seal the cut ends with a flame to reduce loss of sap.

Features

With more than 2000 species, the genus Euphorbia is a ubiquitous, diverse and widespread collection of annual, biennial and perennial herbs, shrubs and trees. There are euphorbs on all continents save Antarctica, and in habitats ranging from hot, arid deserts to cool, temperate wetlands. Some are thorny succulents; others smooth-skinned pretties at home in the flower garden. The characteristic inflorescence, common to all euphorbs, is called a cyathium (pleural cyathia). It resembles a single flower, but is actually a cup shaped conglomeration of fused bracts enclosing many very small male flowers and a single female flower. All euphorbs produce a distinctive three lobed fruiting capsule that literally explodes when ripe. All have a poisonous milky white sap.

Warning

The milky white latex of this and other euphorbs is toxic if ingested and a skin irritant that causes a photosensitive reaction which includes inflammation and itching. It can be especially bad in the eyes or open cuts. The sap is poisonous even when dry.

Steve Christman 7/24/17


Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
palm
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
medicinal
for pots and containers
indoors
shade
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
flowers
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
evergreen
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages




Euphorbia species profiled on Floridata:


Euphorbia characias

( Mediterranean spurge )

Euphorbia graminea

( grassleaf spurge,cushion spurge )

Euphorbia milii

( crown of thorns, Christ plant, Christ thorns )

Euphorbia myrsinites

( myrtle spurge, creeping spurge, donkey tail, myrtle euphorbia )

Euphorbia pulcherrima

( poinsettia )

Euphorbia tirucalli

( pencil tree, milkbush, finger tree, pencil euphorbia, firestick )

More Floridata:


Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC