Euphorbia, Purple Spurge 'Chameleon'

Euphorbia dulcis

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: dulcis (DUL-sis) (Info)
Cultivar: Chameleon



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

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 herbaceous stem cuttings

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Littleriver, California

NORTH FORK, California

Dracut, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Pinconning, Michigan

Westland, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lincoln, Nebraska

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Bellmore, New York

Southold, New York

Cincinnati, Ohio

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Mars, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Farmington, Utah

Lexington, Virginia

Stafford, Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 15, 2015, carolyn82 from Mars, PA wrote:

Help! This plant baffles me. In spring, it is gorgeous, but by July, it looks dead and scraggly. I've tried this plant in full sun, partial sun, open shade, damp areas, dry areas - and no difference. And yet, the same plant at my father in law's house in open shade is just gorgeous all summer long (and it comes from the same stock at my house that looks awful). Any advice? I have lots of other euphorbias, and I don't have problems with them at all, just this one.

I live in Pittsburgh, zone 5b.


On Jun 2, 2013, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A great plant for its dark maroon foliage all season in sun. The foliage loses its distinctive maroon color and greens up in shade. I find the plant neat and non-straggly even late in the season. Foliage is deciduous here in Boston Z6a.

Flowers are tiny and ornamentally insignificant---the bracts are the same maroon color as the foliage. Victorgardener's pic looks like E. griffithii and not the plant under discussion.

Where I live, in eastern Massachusetts, this looks good all season. I've grown this for many years in many gardens, and find occasional seedlings but never to excess. Seedlings inherit the fine dark foliage color.

This plant does not prosper in the hot humid summers of the US southeast south of Z7. It's also highly mildew-prone in ... read more


On Jan 11, 2013, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

This Euphorbia has been growing in my garden for at least 5 years. Many seedlings are found, some a good distance from the parent plant. I like the variety of tones in the foliage, but it seems to give up quickly, looking scraggly or unkempt. By fall, it looks terrible and I am surprised when it returns in the spring. Location is a slight slope with ample sunshine and good fertility. Source was Bluestone Perennials, a three pack, each of which I placed about 10 inches apart in a triangle patch. I don't think I would buy this one again.


On Dec 7, 2012, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant has nice color but I find it rather straggly looking and it also reseeds with abandon. I would not plant it again.


On Sep 5, 2008, Agnis from Ridgefield, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great colors and easy to grow, but I find its seedlings everywhere and do not find them easy to pull up. Chameleon has also been plagued with powdery mildew here, even in our very dry summers.


On Jun 4, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Zone 4 hardy - they will reseed themselves in some odd locations but I would say the seed rate is low to moderate - in any given year I would only see about 5 to 10 seedlings from two to three mature plants. Seem to do well even in partial shade but I hadn't test them into woodland shade yet. Add a interesting maroon accent to a garden - is tough as heck even in my sandy soil.


On Mar 21, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

EUPHORBIA dulcis CHAMELEON - Short 12-18" - Plant 14" apart. zone 4-9. Great counterpoint plant with deepest maroon mounds of foliage. Yellow flowers with the outer bracts turning green. The more sun the deeper the foliage color.

General Information:
Deer Resistant, Good for hot dry spots.

Plant Care:
Can be sheared down by a third after flowering to prevent seeding. Spring clean up preferred as plants can be semi-evergreen, especially in the south.


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

We bought this plant a few years ago in spring, it was lovely in flower. We thought we'd try it in our dry shade garden in the front of our house, but they haven't done so well there.

Update: We're going to be using a drip hose in our front garden now, so hopefully they will fair better.