Inspiring article for an Euphorbia newbie!! I've just finished laying out homes for several that should thrive here in 6a. My lone Euphorbia, Blackbird, an early spring purchase was all bracts (a Novalis plant). By early fall she reached nearly 18" tall and wide. Still all bracts. There are now several "normal leaved stems poking up. My questions: 1. When should I prune the bracts? 2. Why the all bract growth?
Thanks for any insights. Evan
Funny, you referring to your Blackbird as "she" - my daughter always asks me why I refer to plants as "he"? LOL You can cut away those bracts any time now, looks like you've got plenty of fresh foliage for a great start for next year! I usually cut the bracts away sometime in late June/early July here and although the plants look a little pathetic they rebound within a few weeks with fresh growth and quickly regain their height before winter. Just be careful of the milky white sap when you cut the bracts. If you happen to get any on your hands, wash them immediately and make sure you don't rub your eyes! DH had that unpleasant experience once and his eyes were burning for three days :(
FYI, 'Helena's Blush' had always been my favorite Euphorbia in the gardens but after last winter's severe temperatures for this area 'Shorty' came through with flying colors when others suffered (picture below taken this fall with 'Rudolph', 'Glacier Blue' and 'Bonfire'). This year I'm trying a new one that's similar to 'Helena's Blush' - 'Ascot Rainbow'! http://www.planthaven.com/euphasco.html