Cushion Spurge

Euphorbia polychroma

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: polychroma (pol-ee-KROH-muh) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia epithymoides
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Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

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

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

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



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 seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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


Logan Lake,

Juneau, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Sonora, California

Stamford, Connecticut

Blackfoot, Idaho

Fort Dodge, Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Ewing, Kentucky

Bel Air, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Chicopee, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

North Easton, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

Constantine, Michigan

Ludington, Michigan

Stephenson, Michigan

Tustin, Michigan

Chaska, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Fort Benton, Montana

Whitefield, New Hampshire

Himrod, New York

Jefferson, New York

Akron, Ohio

Findlay, Ohio

Galena, Ohio

Grove City, Ohio

Bend, Oregon

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Orangeburg, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Johnson City, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Provo, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

West Dummerston, Vermont

Clarkston, Washington

Elma, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Stanwood, Washington

Sunnyslope, Washington

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

New Richmond, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 17, 2014, iowhen from Iowa City, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted two last fall - one next to the house, and one further out in the yard. As they came up in the spring, rabbits repeatedly munched the further one. That has not stopped it from flourishing, and it's going to bloom soon, now that the other is almost finished with blooms.

This plant is gorgeous.


On Jan 1, 2013, tateofkumquat from White Oak, MD wrote:

The electric yellow of this beautiful plant works in a weird, wonderful way with the electric blue of flax flowers, especially in the evening or cloudy days. Alas, mine was not as long-lived as I had hoped, but it was wonderful enough that I'm trying it again in a different place.


On May 7, 2012, floraphiliac from Ludington, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

My favorite euphorbia, it is so low maintenance and looks good for the whole growing season. Brilliant yellow "flowers" in spring, neat symmetrical mound shape of dark green foliage all summer and lovely reddish to orange tints in the autumn. I've had it for over 5 years in the same spot. I want dozens more of them lol! I may try to root some stem cuttings after the flowering stage this year.


On Mar 2, 2010, willmetge from Spokane, WA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is one of my all-time favorite perennials. It blooms with the daffodils, and looks as though it was carefully pruned into a perfect mound. The chartreuse and yellow bracts are so much more interesting than any of the other spring flowers. I have never had re-seeding problems. I have extreme skin allergies, so I'm careful not to get the sap on me. That being said, I have divided it, taken cuttings, and never had any problems. I think negative ratings given to toxic plants stems from negligence of the gardener in knowing what they are planting. If you are going to purchase a plant, always do your research. It only takes seconds to look it up on-line. I'm guessing that habaneros and other hot peppers can cause just as much eye damage, but most gardeners understand the intense irritation... read more


On Sep 30, 2009, mslehv from Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Im a physician who recently had a fairly severe eye injury from the toxic residues of Euphorbia polychroma. I actually discovered the cause of my eye problem about ten days after the injury and only quite by accident while researching a problem with the plant itself. However, after combing the plant and medical literature it was pretty clear that most of the Euphorbias (particularly the milky latex of the succulents) have some ocular toxicity ranging from mere irritation to blindness.

My experience was that under the proper conditions, E. polychroma also can cause a significant eye injury requiring prolonged medical treatment. Those conditions may include high ambient air temperatures and humidity, mechanical abrasion of the leaves and roots and prolonged contact with the ... read more


On Jun 18, 2008, glacierdawg from Juneau, AK wrote:

I've grown this plant in many climactic conditions, from hot, dry alkalai soil in southwest Idaho to cool, moist acid soil in Southeast Alaska. It has preforemed well in all locations. The vivid yellow is especiall effective in the overcast conditions of coastal Alaska. It glows on gray, gloomy days. As to becoming invasive, that hasn't been a problem with this species.


On Apr 7, 2007, flowerfloosey from Sonora, CA wrote:

I love this plant. I love how it is such a perfect mounding plant and the yellow is electric when it blooms. I have it at the front edge of my perinnial garden in my California foothill locale zone 7. It is deer resistant and after bloom, the folage is attractive. It looks great paired with blue forget- me- nots or late red tulips. Everyone that sees it wonders what it is and wants one. I have recently divided it by root cuttings in late winter and it is blooming along with the bigger plant. Wish I had enough to edge my whole garden with it! Mine is callled candy and I got it at the San Francisco Garden show a few years ago from Digging Dog or Cottage garden nursery.


On Mar 21, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

EUPHORBIA POLYCHROMA Cushion Spurge - Short 14" - Plant 12" apart. Zone 3-8 Forms a globe shaped mound with attractive foliage. Related to the poinsettia, its outer bracts turn a colorful chrome yellow in early summer, then red in fall.

General Information:
Deer Resistant, Good for hot dry spots. Drought tolerant. Can spread quickly in overly moist soil.

Plant Care:
No special care needed. Can be cut back by a third after flowering to prevent seeding. Does not like to be transplanted once established. Some people are sensitive to the milky sap, so take care when shearing.


On May 3, 2006, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

A lovely non-invasive, long lived perennial.
Makes a big yellow mound at the same time as the late Tulips.
The seed may not breed true. No fragrance.
Easily pruned to stay in shape later in the season.
Andy P


On Mar 25, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

Easy to grow. I grow mine in clay soil in part shade, and, it increases in size fairly quick forming a nice mound. Yellow flowers with bracts in the spring...and together they look like their glowing. I hoping to divide mine this year, I will have had it 2 years this summer. EXCELLENT plant. Is not invasive and would highly recommend.