PLANT OF THE WEEK #81: Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’


It’s all too uncommon on this age of vegetation with enormous shiny labels for a brand new launch to completely eclipse its horticultural predecessor.  It looks like the crucial for the novel and the brand new trumps true discernment, and the older, confirmed plant so typically outlasts and outperforms the super-hyped newcomer. 

However the identical can’t be mentioned in regards to the fairly latest introduction Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Craigieburn’, which effortlessly supersedes any earlier type of Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’.  

The latter plant, carrying deep plum foliage and lime flowers atop plum-suffused stems was at all times irresistible to me, regardless of its faults.  I’d simply strive to not look too exhausting at it in mid winter when its leaves would typically curl as if attempting to maintain heat, and when it turned visually unbalanced and a little bit threadbare after periodically shedding all its previous leaves.

Then alongside got here Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’, addressing all of those points.  The luxurious plum foliage as much as 30cm tall stays bravely open and relaxed all year long, and retains a density that its father or mother plant by no means did.  Flowering is prolific and splendidly even, creating, at finest, a stable, 60cm tall mound of lime-sherbet so dense which you could’t assist however marvel how the plant itself is photosynthesising below all that.

The leaves, pre-flowering

Which can contribute to its one remaining fault, and that it’s not very lengthy lived.  Neither, nevertheless, was any type of Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘purpurea’.  Certainly, the identical may very well be mentioned for just about any of the sub-shrubby euphorbias.  Whereas the completely herbaceous kinds can go on indefinitely (similar to E. palustris, E. amygdaloides var. robbiae’ (learn extra about that right here), E. griffithii, E. polychroma and so forth) as they completely renew themselves at or beneath floor stage, those who reshoot annually from the identical, finally cluttered ‘stump’ (E. characias ‘wulfenii’, E. rigida, E. myrsinites, E. amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’) all appear to expire of steam in three to 6 years.

the flowers, beginning to ‘fade’ barely, being suffused by progressively extra plum pigment

Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’ would love a little bit extra water than I can provide it, which is none.  Three vegetation lasted two or three years at my place (which is on the cooler facet, with affordable rainfall) with no supplementary water, however they’d need a little bit additional – however solely a little bit –  in, say, Central Victoria, inland NSW, or Melbourne. That, to my thoughts, places it within the ‘very drought tolerant’ class.  

No low-growing euphorbia likes being swamped by the expansion of close by vegetation.  Actually, Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’ by no means appears happier that when in a gravel backyard setting, with a little bit house round it.  It’ll jostle as much as surrounding vegetation because the pics on the high and backside of this piece present, however received’t deal with being subsumed.  And like practically all drought tolerant vegetation, it insists on glorious drainage.  Upkeep goes no additional than dead-heading flowered stems proper again to the bottom.

Euphorbia ‘Craigieburn’ is the plant within the foreground, and its fizzing lime peak. Within the background, after all, is Euphorbia characias ‘wulfenii’

The opposite consideration, after all, is which you could actually overdo this deep plum foliage.  It must be just like the occasionally-used base be aware, or the seasoning.  Having mentioned that, there’s hardly a extra fascinating and hard-working plant that E. ‘Craigieburn’ to offer it.

(As when working with all Euphorbias, it’s best to put on gloves and lengthy sleeves –  the sap on the pores and skin (and now, for me, mild abrasion from the pointed-leaf species like E. rigida) will end in irritation and the looks of burns.  After two shoppers of mine have had sap sprayed into their eyes whereas dead-heading Euphorbia characias ‘wulfenii’, inflicting extreme ache and hospitalisation, I’ve taken to sporting protecting glasses as nicely when working round these vegetation.  However none of that has made me even contemplate not utilizing them)