Published on 02/18/10

Diamond Frost Euphorbia puts on snowy summer show

By Gary L. Wade

Diamond Frost Euphorbia is a gem of a plant and one of the brightest new stars in the horticulture industry, earning it a spot as the 2010 Georgia Gold Medal annual.

Home gardeners will love the non-stop color, versatility and ease of maintenance this plant offers.

From spring until fall frost, Diamond Frost Euphorbia produces clouds of dainty white bracts (colored leaves) that elegantly complement other plants in containers or landscape beds. Plants grow 6 to 12 inches tall and 20-plus inches wide. Its sprawling growth cascades over the sides of containers or fills in spaces within landscape beds. It also gives a dramatic solo performance in hanging baskets, engulfing them with spherical mounds of color that look like snowballs in the summer landscape.

The true leaves of Diamond Frost Euphorbia are tiny, gray-green and masked by the colorful bracts. They tend to fade into the background and are strictly a supporting actor in the color show.

Diamond Frost Euphorbia prefers morning sun, afternoon shade and moist, well-drained soil. It is self-grooming in that the old flowering bracts will wither and drop off and, therefore, don’t have to be removed by hand to maintain a neat appearance.

The plant is a member of the poinsettia family and produces a sticky latex-like sap when cut. People with skin allergies may want to wear long sleeves and gloves when working with it. However, the milky sap also makes the plant deer tolerant, an important merit in many residential neighborhoods.

Although Diamond Frost Euphorbia is a summer annual, containerized plants can be over-wintered indoors in a bright, sunny location and then taken outside again after the last spring frost.

Diamond Frost Euphorbia is a patented plant and can only be propagated for commercial sale by licensed growers. However, home gardeners can propagate the plants from cuttings for use on their own properties. Seed is not available.

Gary Wade is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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