Mexican Shrubby Spurge, Red Spurge

Euphorbia cotinifolia

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: cotinifolia (kot-in-ih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:



Encinitas, California

Hayward, California

Lemon Grove, California

Long Beach, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Pasadena, California

Perris, California

San Diego, California (2 reports)

San Marcos, California

San Marino, California

Spring Valley, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Vista, California

Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)

Lake Worth, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Kihei, Hawaii

Papaaloa, Hawaii

Chicago, Illinois

Kenner, Louisiana

Austin, Texas

Houston, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Triangle, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 1, 2014, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant looks so much like smoke tree, cotynus c. but it is a euphorbia. Mine is planted in full sun in well amended soil and requires supplemental water. It is deciduous in my area. Mine is about 6 ft tall and I have the space to let it grow taller. I love this plant.


On Feb 8, 2013, sdjimbob from San Diego, CA wrote:

The Vista and Pasadena comments are accurate. The plants are mostly deciduous in Southern California if the temperature gets under 40, and anything about 36 or less means complete defoliation, and then unattractive bare branches for 2 months at least.

Cuttings have been very easy, and I've had good luck in poor soil.


On Sep 19, 2010, rwhite25 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Beautiful plant that loves the Houston summer heat. Does not like a quick change in temperature. I brought a large potted specimen indoors for 1 evening and most of the leaves wilted. Even when returned to the light and heat the older leaves were shed. Mealybug can be a problem but that and mites are easily controlled with systemic sprays.


On Jul 13, 2008, redinque from Pasadena, CA wrote:

Beautiful, beautiful foliage, but requires relatively good soil and moisture. I planted it into the ground in clay dirt around September of last year where it promptly lost all its leaves around November when the temperature dropped to around 40 at night. I live in Los Angeles, CA. The bare branches (at least when it's small) don't look very appealing. It took a long time for the leaves to regrow probably in April or May, and I thought it had died. Slow growing and seems to be a plant better grown in a pot if soil conditions are not that good. I may dig it up and do just that.


On Apr 17, 2008, myrrtle77 from Northampton, MA wrote:

we live in massachusetts,a firm zone 4. we have had our tree
for seven years now. it has reached a height of almost 12', before a good spring pruning. we love her so much,she is the talk of the neighborhood, when she is leafed out. she gets early morning sun and shade the rest of the day and her color is still vibrant and she flowers pretty freely. they do like a fair amount of water,but, we have her pretty root bound, and she still does well. we leave her outside til the first frost is due and then she goes down into our basement for her winter nap. we water her about once a month and bring her up as soon as she starts to leaf out. i have taken cuttings for my mom, who lives in florida and she has rooted them quite easily and grows her plants in full sun in central florida. hope... read more


On Mar 12, 2007, WebInt from Vista, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a fast growing Euphorbia that is also called the Caribbean Copper Plant. Can be confused with Cotinus coggygria (Smoke Tree 'Royal Purple') for those not familiar, but break a stem and get the milky sap, you will know it is a Euphorbia. The white flowers really look nice against the red foliage. In SoCal it can grow to 10 feet tall but is deciduous in all but the mildest winters. My plant lost a few smaller stems and defoliated 100% during the 28 degree freeze from Jan 2007. However; all large stems have shot out new growth since. So they can handle a 28 degree freeze and recover nicely.


On Sep 30, 2006, lakeshoredrive from Chicago, IL wrote:

This euphorbia's grows quickly from cuttings, overwinters nicely in a greenhouse and the maroon-red leaves look fantasic when grown in mixed containers.


On Sep 27, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

The new growth is a satiny vibrant burgundy. Not evergreen or especially drought tolerant. It actually likes more water than most euphobias and responds with fast growth. And should be given plenty of root room if grown in a pot or it grows sparse. Hardy to at least 30 degrees. No pests-at least outdoors.