Euphorbia stricta ‘Golden Foam’

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*UPDATE* 09/08/16  Unfortunately, ‘Golden Foam’ set a million seeds, of which about 110% germinated in my garden (and lawn). I will be pulling seedlings for the rest of my days. Plant this thing at your own risk.—AC

*UPDATE* 04/08/17 ‘Golden Foam’ is my kudzu. I hate it with a white-hot passion. What really troubles me is that it will surely be lurking in the soil with other plants I dig up and give away—and the recipient may not know better.—AC

I’ve been admiring Euphorbia stricta ‘Golden Foam’ in my garden all season, and it’s about time I paid it some respect. Yeah, right!

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I got this lovely thing at a plant swap a year ago last spring from my friend Linda at Whatsitgarden. It was a tiny seedling even smaller than these guys, and I kept it with my other gifted plants that were waiting for a home until I was able to get a proper bed ready and start planting.

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I got the bed prepped on September 18 of last year. Is there anything more beautiful to a gardener than a freshly prepped bed, ready for planting? I planted it that day.

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A month later, my little spurge looked like this. I didn’t really know what to expect from it. I googled a photo and said, “Oooo, that’s pretty,” and then forgot about it.

Come spring, though, it started growing, and growing…

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and FWOOMP! It took off. It looks like this now, in late June. Gotta admit, it was pretty.

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George provides a sense of scale. My ‘Golden Foam’ is 3-1/2 feet tall and wide. Most of the online references say this plant gets 20 to 30 inches tall. I guess it’s an overachiever in my silty loam soil.

I was worried that maybe it would flop, but then again we haven’t had any rain for probably two months. And I almost never water it. If we did get a downpour, I think it would be all right, though, because the stems are pretty sturdy and the foliage and flowers are very light and airy.

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Once it starts flowering, the leaves shrivel up and wither away.

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And all that’s left is a profusion of bracts and tiny flowers of chartreuse-y goodness.
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This color looks good with lots of other colors—blue, purple, orange, lavender, deep red, green… I love it with the Cerinthe major ‘Gibraltar’ I planted next to it.

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‘Golden Foam’ is said to have red stems, though they are more of a soft salmon color in my garden, and only near the base.

Other information I found about this plant was all over the board. Sources listed it as hardy to anywhere from Zone 5 to Zone 10. Some didn’t even consider it a perennial plant, but said it was an annual. All I know is that mine survived the winter in an especially mild Zone 8b winter. We got down to 21ºF here in November and that was the worst of it.

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I don’t see a lot of pollinators on this plant, but there are some. Some tiny insects seem to like it, like this one. I don’t know what it is. Anyone?

It also attracts a few houseflies, but not enough to be a nuisance.

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I often see a ladybug or two on it.

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My ‘Golden Foam’ euphorbia has started to go to seed. Noooooooo!

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Like other euphorbias I’ve grown, the seedpods turn from green to tan and then pop open as they dry. If you listen closely on a warm day, you can hear them pop. A few shiny brown seeds have landed on this lamb’s ear leaf, along with detritus from the explosions. It was a war zone and I didn’t even realize it.

Also like other euphorbias, this one has a milky sap in the stems and leaves that can cause a bad reaction in some people when they touch it. It has never bothered me.

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I’ll collect some seed and grow some more of this wonder mixer, for sure. Have you had any luck with this plant?


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4 Responses

  1. Alison Young
    Alison Young at | | Reply

    I ‘ll love this euphorbia. I grew it from seed supplied by Plant is hardy as a perennial at 700feet in the north east not too far from the Pennines and it seeds
    itself generously. It also has a lovely bonus in the sweet scent which I don’t think other euphoria have. It is especially lovely in late summer when things are calming down.

  2. Brad Bonham
    Brad Bonham at | | Reply

    I agree with the 110% germination. Inherited this in a garden I’m caring for (the parent plant is long-gone). Judicious use of pre-emergent reduces germination considerably, but it’s been important to watch for seedlings in beds well-beyond what is clearly ground zero. Break-through seen about 70 days after application — like bittercress.

    Due to the cautions on pre-emergent use around hydrangeas, we still pick small herds of seedlings out of the stem clusters. Hoping the seed bank exhausts itself in a couple years… 😛

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