Cutting Euphorbia 'Blackbird' BEFORE Flowering?

Poulsbo, WA

I grow Blackbird Euphorbia for its foliage and don't really like the color of its flower bracts. I feel a bit like Morticia Addams, but I'm thinking of cutting back the second year stems that normally would produce flowers before they bloom this spring. I'm hoping that doing so will cause those stems to send off side shoots, make the plants a bit bushier at the base and delay blooming for another year. Has anyone out there tried this? If it worked, when (and how far back) did you trim the plants?

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

Hi, I haven't tried cutting the flowers off personally, but I think Euphorbias are pretty tough plants so you could probably experiment without hurting it much. Good luck.

Poulsbo, WA

Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I'll give it a go, they say if you aren't killing plants regularly, you're not stretching yourself as a gardener....

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Keep us updated, would you, FernFarmer? That way the rest of us can try killing other plants and will know if your methods work or not. :~)

Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

Be sure to wear disposable gloves and clean your pruners when you are done, the sap from euphorbias is very irritating. I would also try cutting just a few stems, and if all seems OK, go back for the rest. I lost a Euphorbia myrsinites by cutting off the spent flowers. I literally think it bled to death. Hope this helps.

Poulsbo, WA

I've been delinquent in my garden maintenance due to some back problems, but I seem to be on the mend and will go chop half the flowering stalks to see what happens next. I'll let you know my results.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Make sure you use the gloves. I tried Euphorbia once-never again! I got the sap on my hands and had touched my face. Later great weeping sores appeared, that took 2 weeks to heal. I didn't notice the sap, it's not immediately caustic, more like poison ivy that you notice later.

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