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Beginner Gardening: When to cut back euphorbias?

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 6, Views: 66
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LennysMom
Coupeville, WA

October 23, 2010
8:55 PM

Post #8172339

I have several kinds of euphorbias in my landscape: tasmanian tiger (gorgeous!), red wing, polychromia, and a real plain one whose name I cannot remember. When am I supposed to cut them back? I have heard "after flowering" but they flowered in spring. Now it is fall (Oct) and there is all kinds of little tiny new growth at the base. Maybe I should cut it now? What do other people do?
altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

October 24, 2010
8:52 AM

Post #8173027

I cut euphorbias off in spring, so as to enjoy the fall colour. If you do choose to cut them off while they are green, wear gloves and take some caution, as the sap is rather caustic and can cause blistering on the skin.
MatthewWilliam
Sydney
Australia

October 28, 2010
10:56 PM

Post #8182455

Cut 4 to 6 inches with a knife from the tip of a stem on the euphorbia plant. Place it in cold water immediately until the sap stops flowing, or briefly expose the end of the cutting to a flame to stop the flow.

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altagardener
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3b)

October 29, 2010
5:14 AM

Post #8182668

LennysMom, were you asking about cutting these plants to the ground for winter or to control their size or other? MatthewWilliam has provided advice for how to treat the cuttings for use in bouquets.
LennysMom
Coupeville, WA

November 10, 2010
7:36 AM

Post #8204526

I am wondering about cutting back for the winter. Because my plants all have lots of tiny new growth at the base, and then the older branches are quite long and a bit leggy. It is Nov. now and getting cold where I live. Should I do it now or wait till spring?
landscapetech55
Toronto
Canada

February 1, 2011
8:58 AM

Post #8342673

I generally leave anything that doesn't "melt" come cold weather. Anything that provides a bit of interest in the winter is great! Grasses, evergreens, rhodos, etc...all catch a bit of snow and sway in the wind. Euphorbia is a very tough plant - prune whenever you have the time; however, nipping it back a bit every so often after flowering will keep it compact. they get leggy if left to grow on their own for too long. The new growth at the base, if seen in the fall, is next year's growth getting ready.
landscapetech55
Toronto
Canada

February 1, 2011
8:59 AM

Post #8342676

(the old, leggy branches will usually break off at the base in the spring once they've died and dried out)

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