Canary spurge or honey spurge Seeds (Euphorbia mellifera) Perennial Flowers
Tall shrubby spurge with acid yellow flowers
A much sought after, dome-shaped shrub with apple-green foliage and golden-tan coloured flowers in summer heavy with the scent of honey. Hardy in a sheltered area but likes protection from cold winds. Easy from seed. 5ft (1.5m)
Euphorbia mellifera, the Canary spurge or honey spurge, is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae, native to Madeira and the Canary Islands. It is an evergreen shrub growing to 2 m or more, with narrow leaves up to 20 cm long. In spring it produces brown, honey-scented flowers
Originally from Madeira, this beautiful plant will grow in sun or shade but in very cold gardens could do with the protection of a south or west wall to give protection against frost and cold winds. If grown in sun it will be more compact - a shady position giving an elegant open centred plant. If it gets too leggy, cut back as hard as you like in the late spring/early summer for much denser growth, though this may reduce flowering for the following year. Flower buds can be removed to produce larger leaves and more growth. The white sap of Euphorbias can be irritating to the skin so be careful. Can grow to 6ft x 6ft in 5 years.
Severe frost (-4°c or below) will give the leaves a pendulous look. It can look terminal but it's not. They recover wonderfully well as soon as the temperature rises.
Sow indoors. Surface sow onto moist well-drained seed compost. Just cover with vermiculite. Ideal temp. 15-18°C. Germination can be slow and erratic, taking from 2 weeks to several months. If germination does not occur cold stratify. Move to 4°C for 3 months then return to warmth. Ensure compost is moist at all times. Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle to 8cm pots and grow on. Acclimatise and plant out with 200cm spacing. Can be sown directly in autumn where overwintering should offer the natural cold/ warmth conditions required for germination.
Prefers a well-drained, light soil in full sun in mild areas. Cold areas grow in a container and overwinter indoors.
Cut back flowering shoots to ground level in late summer or autumn. Deadhead to avoid self-seeding. Will self-seed freely, but excess seedlings are easily removed.
Please note all parts of the plant of all Euphorbia species are toxic if ingested. The sap can also cause skin irritation so care should be taken when handling the plants.