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Euphorbia Pruning

Hello - first time here, quite a long question, hope you  can bear with me....I was hoping someone cd help me with a pruning question for my Euphorbias (photos attached)....


I've done the reading, and THINK that I probably have the biennial stem type, but I am simply not sure. Is there any way to tell from the photos I've attached? The plants are about 1 metre tall and several years old. They flowered beautifully last year, more lime green I'd say than acid yellow.


I pruned back what I thought were last year's flowered stems to the base in the Autumn.


So far there is a little re-growth, though I shd be expecting this to surge this growing season, setting themselves up ready to flower in 2022? Is that right?


As for the current large stems: one photo shows what looks to be a yellowish flower bud surrounded by purplish- tinged leaves in its tip. All current tips have these. Am I right? And therefore that these are all set to flower this year?


Also - the long stems look a little leggy and bare, not sure what if anything can be done about this? Or what I should have done / shd be doing in the future to prevent this?


 I realise this is quite a lot to ask - but very much hoping you can help!



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,178
    Patience - major gardeners' virtue to cultivate.

    It's barely February and cold and wet.  Growth will start with a vengeance come March when it's warmer (probably) and lighter.

    Have a read of this comprehensive info from the RHS and see if your variety is there plus see general cultivation notes at the end - 

    Personally, I loathe euphorbias and would dig out/prune them from below the roots with a decent garden fork but, if you do cut them back, be sure to wear gloves and not get sap on your skin as it can burn it in sunlight and don't rub your eyes as the sap can damage them too.  Clean your secateur blades before and after.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,257
    Most of them are hard to kill. All those long stems can be cut back to the new growth to regenerate the plants, but as @Obelixx says, it's not the time to do it. 
    Once they've flowered [although technically they aren't flowers ] that's the time to do it. Later in spring or summer. They'll produce new stems. 
    I'm not sure why they're in those boxes though. They'd do better in the ground.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks very much! And point taken about patience....

    I've had a browse of that link, thanks very much. It's looking increasingly likely to me that it's a Characias type  - ie biennial stem as I thought, but I'm still not 100% sure...
  • Thanks Fairygirl....all points taken.

    My main question is whether the stems that I deliberately left unpruned from last year are now carrying this year's flower buds or not. If so I'd rather wait till they've flowered before cutting back (and reshaping the plant / dealing with legginess at the same time)....I think I'm going to leave it and see what happens.

    Re the planters - mine is a soaking wet garden with a high water table and I  understand that they like dry soil... Hasn't held them back before now! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,257
    Yes - wait until those long stems have flowered. You can cut back at any point after they've finished, taking care as @Obelixx says. I do mine in later summer normally, mainly because I have other planting around them, so it avoids trampling on that. 

    They generally like a drier medium, but many of them will grow in quite consistently wet ground too  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks very much!
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