Diamond FrostŪ euphorbia has captured the hearts of gardeners throughout the world. Its merits are touted at gardening programs featuring dependable plants for the garden, and its praises are sung by friends who share affection for the plant as they relate their experiences in growing it.
Its official name is Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Inneuphdia' but Proven Winners, the growers and distributors of this plant, took the bull by the horns and gave it the more pronounceable trade name of Diamond Frost®. Diamond Frost® is a cousin of the poinsettia, but you would never guess just by looking. Tiny, delicate, gray-green leaves provide the background for petite white "blossoms" that are held above the foliage, much like baby's breath. This frothy drift of white blooms and delicate foliage grows to a mature height of 12 to 18 inches tall.
Growing Diamond Frost®
Diamond Frost® thrives in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Both heat and drought tolerant, it blooms constantly during the summer. While Diamond Frost® is a perennial in Zone 10, gardeners in other zones must grow it as an annual or move it indoors during cold weather. If moved to the greenhouse or to a sunny window, it should continue to bloom throughout the winter.
Gardeners in Zone 8b have claimed limited success in overwintering plants in the garden. Several of my neighbors report that their Diamond Frost® returned after a harsh winter. I suspect, though, that their plants were in very protected places in their landscapes. I often overwinter a few pots in the greenhouse. Although they get leggy and quite unattractive during the course of the winter, they respond quickly to warmer weather and a severe cutting back come spring.
Diamond Frost in the Landscape
Planted about 10 to 12 inches apart, Diamond Frost® produces a mound of frothy blossoms that are perfect companions to almost any other plant. They are also an excellent choice for container gardens or hanging baskets, either by themselves or in combination with other plants. During the Christmas season, commercial growers often combine it in containers with poinsettias, making the poinsettias seem to be nestled in a bed of white frost.
Gardeners who must be concerned about deer eating their plants will be glad to know that Diamond Frost® is unpalatable to them. Even bugs that eat other plants seem to steer clear of the milky stems and leaves.
Euphorbias as a group are interesting because of their atypical flower form. What appears to be the flower petals are actually bracts, or modified leaves, and it is these bracts that give the plants their color. The flowers themselves are small and fleeting, but the colorful bracts hold their color for many months.
Several other members of the Euphorbia family are familiar to many of us. As already mentioned, the most popular container plant in history, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), is a member of the family. Castor bean (Ricinus communis) is a deadly spurge relative. Another all-too-familiar family member is the invasive Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebiferum). The popular crown of thorns (Euphorbia millii) is a beautiful addition to the clan. The colorfully leaved crotons (Codiaeum variegatum) are some of my personal favorites.
Awards won by Diamond Frost
Best of Trials-University of Florida
Top 5 Performer-Pennsylvania State University
Leader of the Pack-North Carolina State University
Top Five Performer-Ohio State University
Top Performer-Norfolk Botanical Garden
Top Pick-Dallas Arboretum
Top Performer-Kansas State University
Superior-Colorado State University
Excellent Rating-Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Best New Performers-Oklahoma State University
Top 10-Auburn University
Top Performer-Mississippi State University 2004 and 2005
Mississippi Medallion Award, 2008
About Marie Harrison
Serving as a board member for Valparaiso Garden Club, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and the Deep South Region, and National Garden Clubs takes a chunk of my time and attention. Being a Master Flower Show Judge, a Floral Design Instructor, instructor of horticulture for National Garden Clubs, and a University of Florida Master Gardener crowds a bit more into my busy days. In addition to these activities, I contribute regularly to Florida Gardening magazine and other publications. I am author of four gardening books, all published by Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida. Read about them and visit me at www.mariesgardenanddesign.com.