Euphorbia Species, Honey Spurge

Euphorbia mellifera

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: mellifera (mel-IF-er-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia longifolia
Synonym:Kobiosis mellifera
Synonym:Tithymalus melliferus



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage


Provides winter interest

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

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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


Belmont, California

Mckinleyville, California

Richmond, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 3, 2016, M_Bond from Belmont, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have planted E. mellifera in two different homes on the San Francisco peninsula (California). Here, it is definitely evergreen and mine has quickly attained about 6' in height within two years. The foliage is such an attractive fresh apple green; it is a really lovely foliage plant with quite low water needs.


On Jan 12, 2014, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Euphorbia mellifera grows well, as it does in most of the UK.. hard frosts may prune it down to size (roughly around -8 to -9C will send it to the ground), but as yet this hasn't happened in my garden since I have had it growing.

If unchecked by frost, Euphorbia mellifera will develop a trunking habit, and eventually will resemble a Candelabra tree-like effect. However if the shoots are constantly cut, or the plant is knocked back by Winter, the plant will grow shoots from the bottom, creating a domed bush.

I personally prefer the wild habit it develops in it's native Azores, and therefore I hope climatically it will be allowed to grow as it wants.


On Aug 3, 2008, incomer44 from Sheffield,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

If you grow this plant it should be in a sheltered position. If it isn't, it loses its leaves and you end up with a very ungainly plant with 5 to 6 ft stems which have leaf scars all the way up and a few leaves at the top.

Having a plant like this, I decided in March that I would coppice it (cut it down to a few inches above ground) rather than dig it up and throw it away. You can see from my photo that the plant has responded by producing lots of healthy looking shoots. You can also see the cut ends of some of the old 1.5 inch diameter stems.

If coppicing works once, it can probably be repeated in a few years when the plant becomes ungainly again.


On Apr 27, 2008, janiepoopout from Dublin,
Ireland wrote:

The plant needs protection from very cold winds and hates being moved. However, the honey fragrance on a hot day is fabulous.


On Mar 19, 2005, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

Planted seedlings summer 2004. Survived our wet and incidental very cold (-15C) winter perfectly. Flowers should have a strong honey scent. I 'll wait and give an update.