Purple Wood Spurge
Seems as if we are always singing the praises of Euphorbias but what else has such bright, ever-changing color, is deer resistant and drought tolerant, and provides contrast with other shrubs and perennials? Euphorbia purpurea is one of the shorter growing species and in the hot valley is best in part shade, morning sun, or dappled light; although increased sun will bring out more of the burgundy/purple tones. Once established it is drought tolerant as long as it has well draining soil and the white sap in the stems make it poisonous and resistant to deer. This Euphobia is always going through interesting color changes- the leaves go from fresh green/lime to wine-colored reds and purples as the season progresses. The red stems and purple rosettes of leaves contrast beautifully with the chartreuse/lime colored blooms that perch atop the plant. The blooms last for months and when they finally fade is the best time to prune the stems back to the base to keep it tidy. This Euphorbia is at it's prime it's first few years and then may get a little tired looking, but it reseeds quite a bit so you will always have fresh plants. It looks great as a mass groundcover in part shade, combined with yellow daffodils, black mondo grass, Mahonia repens or compacta, yellow toned ornamental grasses, Veronica 'Georgia Blue', Hellebores, I could go on and on. The colors and form of the Euphorbia purpurea just complement so many other leaf shapes and colors. They do well in containers as well and are a great choice for winter color and multi season interest in a shade/part shade pot. Euphorbia purpurea will typically get about 12-18" tall and spread about as wide with seedlings popping up nearby. They are easy to identify and remove or transplant.