Donkey Tail Spurge (Euphorbia Myrsinites)

Donkey Tail Spurge is also sometimes called Myrtle Spurge. This is really an interesting and fun plant.  Belonging to the very large group of plants called Euphorbias, donkey tail is an evergreen perennial with spiral, rounded succulent blue gray waxy leaves.

In spring it bears bright chartreuse yellow – green flowering bracts which literally glow in the sun.

Donkey Tail Spurge / Sensible Gardening and Living
Donkey Tail Spurge / Sensible Gardening and Living

This spurge is a plant for the dry garden requiring very little watering, and prefers a light, sandy well drained soil. Place this plant in full sun as it is very heat and sun tolerant. It gives the impression of a desert plant and looks great in rock gardens, as an edging or on slopes. It grows into a clump about 4 inches tall and 12 inches wide which makes it an ideal ground cover. It will also grow in semi shade.

Donkey spurge is relatively hardy as it grows in zone 5 and it’s foliage is attractive for the entire season. It does self seed rather well and unwanted seedlings should be removed when small. Seedlings transplant extremly well if you want to move them around your garden.

Be careful when working around donkey tail spurge as it contains a milky sap which is very caustic and can blister skin. There is no need to prune this plant but be careful when brushing by it. The sap is severe enough that I probably would not grow this plant if there are small children roaming around the garden beds. Otherwise, it’s a real work horse for the northern xeriscape garden.

Pro: deer resistant /  drought tolerant / unique / easily propagated

Con: caustic sap / self seeds easily / considered invasive in some southern areas

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