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Dividing Euphorbia Mellifera

NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
Has anyone done this and if so, did it take well to splitting?

I have a mature one that has outgrown it’s space, and although I chop it right back every spring it grows back fast and swamps everything around it. 
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  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,095
    @Nollie E Mellifera isn't really hardy here. I can recall a friend who was a knowlegeable gardener taking a fairly large piece from E Mellifera as an insurance years ago and it was fine. I have lifted and split other euphorbias with success. I think you need to be generous with the size of the splits as they seem to take much better. It can take time for them to get roots down and resettle.
    It is common to find alot of old stems and old roots so  there may be not as much plant as you thought.. I would think the best time to do it would be spring just as it shoots so you can see what is what.

    I hope there is someone who does grow it who can help but I would think the principal is the same.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 727
    I don't grow it but my friend does and she has divided it several times. I'm not sure how she did it, apart from it was in April, so can't help there but I know they take quite well from cuttings as I have grown them and passed them to other people (just don't have anywhere to fit one in my garden). Maybe take some cuttings as insurance.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    Thanks very much to you both, good to know it can be done. I am thinking to try and split it into three chunks as the rootball looks quite large. Hopefully one of those will survive for replanting! 

    It does get frostbitten and blackened here @GardenerSuze but always springs back after a chop. 
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,095
    @Nollie Splitting into three sounds a good idea. Small pieces are fine but take a while to establish. It is a beautiful plant and I would love to grow it but think it might just hang on or give up in the winter months. A big space to fill if it goes wrong!
    I think I would take a look at the roots by digging around with a trowel first it might give you an idea on where to start?
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    I love it, but it does occupy a much bigger space than I thought Suze! I read online somewhere it got to 1.2x1.2m and went by that, but it quickly got to the 2x2m quoted elsewhere.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,120
    Best of luck dividing that Nollie, it forms a tough clump, I would think you'd need a pick axe.   They actually seed around and a potted up seedling soon turns into a decent size shrub, if this is done at the right time planning ahead, there's no need to bother with division as you will always have another plant to replace.
    As Christopher Lloyd wrote.. replace frequently as young plants are so handsome..

    I like a large unpruned plant, mine was in situ for 7 or  8 years before I yanked it out with great difficulty - I was fitter then - as much as I love this shrub I felt it didn't work well with roses of all sorts..

    It certainly survived here unscathed in winters down at least to -12C during bitter winter about 10 years ago.. I recall we had -15 locally.. much hardier than often stated..


  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,548
    Well there’s always the chainsaw @Marlorena! Mine has never self-seeded, but then Verbena Bonariensis rarely does either and that’s renowned for it. I’d actually bought the theoretically smaller E. Griffithii ‘Dixter’ to replace it (planning to put it in a sunken pot to contain it) but it died before I could get it in the ground in the late spring heatwave we had. Apart from the size, the foliage works well for me as a backdrop to my trio of Julia Child roses. I’m not so bothered about the flowers, which are fleeting.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,095
    edited 8 January
    @Marlorena Lovely to see your photo. You are so lucky to have been able to both grow it and enjoy it in the past. It is my favourite of all the Euphorbias.

    @Nollie I can see why seedlings can make better plants but alot of planning ahead would be needed if such a large space is to be filled.  When a old plant is dug up there are twisted roots and lots of dry dead stems. It may come apart in smaller pieces than you would like but that could also help you.I have split large Euphorbias but not Mellifera as it is something you rarely see here. I am sure micro climate plays a part too. A local gardening friend did try years ago but frost damage left a straggly mess that took all summer to recover from. Perhaps it would be worth a try with warmer winters but then we can suddenly one year get the low temperatures that we had in November. Suze

    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • AsarumAsarum East AngliaPosts: 596
    I think Euphorbia mellifera is fairly hardy actually.  I know of one which has survived growing 404 m (1,325 ft) above sea level up in the Northumberland Pennines for many years, all be it sheltered by the house wall.
    East Anglia
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,095
    @Asarum Yes I think micro climate can make a big difference. Next to a wall would give good drainage and shelter if in a west/ south aspect for instance. Out in the open garden wet and cold which is what it would have in my garden not so good.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
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