Cypress euphorbia - the most spectacular and unpretentious groundcover

Cypress euphorbia is a paradoxical flower. On the one hand, this is an aggressor plant that is banned in many countries, and on the other, a landscape designer’s dream. It is considered one of the most effective biological agents for treating the skin, and at the same time, it has a detrimental effect on horses and cows.

Cypress Euphorbia


The history of this flower has 3, 500-3, 000 years. His image is found in the excavations of the Bronze Age in Central Europe. Later it spread throughout Europe, with the exception of the northern part, as well as in Asia (Turkey). In 1860, it was imported to the United States as an ornamental plant.

Euphorbia cyparissias - the biological name for milkweed cypress.

The plant has adapted to a wide range of growing conditions. At first it was used as a cover flower on graves. Hence the popular names:

  • euphorbia in the cemetery;
  • cemetery moss;
  • crown of Bonarpart.

It grows in rare forests, on roadsides and on pastures of Western Europe and the USA. Euphorbia cyparissius is toxic to horses and cows, fatal to fish.

The Department of Agriculture of North America, it is included in the list of harmful weeds and is banned for cultivation in the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Wisconsin. But, despite the strict ban, the plant continues to be planted as an ornamental.

It was from the cypress milkweed that such a concept as a sensory garden came from - its fluffy stems are so beautiful and incredibly soft foliage is so pleasant to the touch. According to landscapes, this is one of the most spectacular integumentary species, moreover, unpretentious, plastic and with an excellent growth rate.


Euphorbia cyparissias is an energetically spreading rhizome perennial plant with vertical stems up to 30 cm tall, with very narrow blue-green leaves resembling cypress needles.

Leaves and flowers

In the lower part, the stem is unbranched, covered with short, tightly pressed squamous leaves 2.5 to 3 cm long. In the upper half, it forms lateral, densely leafy shoots ending in an umbrella inflorescence of 10-18 greenish-yellow flowers, turning orange on poor soils. In good weather, it blooms again in early autumn.

Flowers are arranged in pairs (female - on a short stem over a male flower). They lack sepals and petals. Under the flowers with a diameter of 3 mm - yellowish-green bracts of 6 mm.

Female flowers give the fruit in the form of a capsule of 3 sections, about 3 mm across, each with 1 seed. When ripening, the seeds are “shot” at a distance of up to five meters from the plant.

The roots

The root system consists of:

  • from a core root growing vertically down to a depth of 3 m;
  • lateral roots with additional buds capable of forming new shoots.

The extensive root system and early spring growth allow weak-looking deciduous shoots to compete for space, nutrients, water and sunlight, crowding out the rest of the plants.

If cypress euphorbia is not limited, by 5-6 years of age he will cover with a dense carpet an area with a diameter of 1.5-2 meters.

All parts contain toxic latex, which irritates the mucous membranes, the gastrointestinal tract, and causes contact dermatitis in some people.

It was once used to eliminate freckles, to destroy warts and skin ulcers, as well as for hair growth. With the development of cosmetology, the need for it has disappeared.

Purchase and adaptation

Seedlings easily adapt to a new place

The plant goes on sale both in a container with a shaped bush, and in the form of one stem and part of the rhizome.

A seedling with a closed root system (ZKS) can be planted in open ground at any time of the year, the only condition is no later than 2 months before the onset of constant frost.

A stem with an open root system (ACS) needs adaptation operations.

To do this, you need:

  • remove dried roots;
  • immerse the stem in a root solution for several hours.


The seedlings do not have a pronounced main rhizome, they are placed in shallow (up to 5 cm) grooves with drainage at the bottom, straightening the lateral roots.

Sprinkle with light earth on top, slightly compact and moisten the surface of the soil.

When an adult plant with a root root is planted, a hole is dug with a depth of 30-40 cm. Next, similar operations follow.


It is possible to transplant both a uterine plant with a powerful rod root, and rooted parts with lateral rhizomes.

To do this, they chop off the roots with a sharp shovel, dig up the euphorbia and, together with a lump of earth, transfer them to the prepared place.

If it was not possible to dig out the vertical rhizome completely, then new processes will soon come from it.

Optimal time for transplantation:

  • early spring, before the start of sap flow;
  • autumn, 1.5 to 2 months before the steady colds so that the plant can take root.

The necessary conditions

Euphorbia inhabited open areas with scarce soil: pine forests, hills, fields. Its natural habitat is limestone, sandy or gravel soil. It is resistant to drought and loves the sun, but tolerates partial shade.

Soil and location selection

To plant in the euphorbia garden, you need a dry, sunny place with a rocky, loose substrate. She will feel great in rock gardens, mixborders, arabesques.

This plant does not tolerate:

  • constantly moist soil;
  • closely located groundwater;
  • moisture stagnation after melting snow or rain.

Therefore, for planting, choose an elevated place, with poor rocky or sandy soil and good drainage.


The plant is drought tolerant. It calmly tolerates a long absence of watering due to:

  • narrow leaves through which moisture evaporates weakly;
  • long rod root, extracting water from a sufficient depth.

During a period of insufficient moisture, the euphorbia is able to store it mainly in the rhizome.

Confirmation of this is the data provided in the information system for fire interactions FEIS (USA):

  • with a decrease in watering, the number of rhizomes in the plant increased;
  • the thickness of the main stem increased by 15%.

At high air temperatures, it is enough to moisten the soil around the flower every 7-10 days.

Excessive moisture is detrimental to milkweed. It can lead to the death of the plant.


Small cypress survives in a wide temperature range: from 40 ° C to -25 ° C. During hot weather, it needs to be additionally moistened, and before the winter cold, cut off the entire aboveground part.

Even if the stems of the plant dry in a hot summer or freeze in winter, the euphorbia will be reborn from sleeping buds located on horizontal roots.


Like any plant, euphorbia loves the sun. Its decorative qualities in a sunny place are fully developed:

  • needle-leaves densely cover the stem, creating a fluffy dense shoot;
  • stems are low, strong, growing vertically;
  • the color of leaves, stipules and flowers is saturated;
  • the shape of the bush is symmetrical, spherical.

In a light shade, these qualities are mainly preserved, however, the color intensity decreases, and the height of the stems and the distance between the rows of leaves on them increase.

In the shade, the stems grow long and weak. The bush is falling apart, losing its shape. The color of all parts of the plant becomes faded.

Grows well in the open sun

Home Care

Fertilizers and fertilizing

An excess of organic matter and nitrogen in the soil leads to a deterioration in the decorative qualities of cypress euphorbia - shoots become long, weak, lodging. As a result, the number of leaves per unit area of ​​the stem decreases, it looks “naked”.

To give splendor and compactness, it is recommended to use potash and phosphorus top dressing, but no more than 2 times per season:

  • at the beginning of the growing season - potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate;
  • in the fall - superphosphate.

On poor soils or long-term cultivation in the same place, you can scatter full complex fertilizer in early spring, even in the snow, at the beginning of its melting.

The nitrogen content in the spring should not be more than 20%. The optimal mixture for feeding NPK 20-20-20.


Garden euphorbia is watered as the surface layer is completely dry.

When watering this plant, they adhere to the principle "Better not to top up than to pour." Particular care must be taken to ensure that water after irrigation does not stagnate around euphorbia.

Use in landscape design

Cypress euphorbia brings a delicate and delicate texture to the garden composition.

Due to the fact that the stem is densely covered with leaves to the ground, it can be used as a foreground flower. It goes well with conifers - stunted spruce, juniper and fir. But the euphorbia bushes themselves look great, at any time of the year.

With these plants, garden compositions become elegant and impressive, especially on a rocky plot, in a rocky garden.

To euphorbia always looked decorative, it must be regularly cut. The first time this operation is performed after flowering, but before the formation of fruit bolls. Then the haircut is carried out as the shoots grow or to maintain a given shape. As a result of pruning, the bush becomes more dense and fluffy.

Containment of aggressiveness

To prevent the spread of cypress milkweed throughout the area, it is planted in buried pots or the growth area is limited by special rooted barriers.

Breeding methods

Euphorbia cyparissias has great breeding potential.

At home, apply the methods:

  • seminal;
  • vegetative (cuttings);
  • regenerative (through fragments of rhizomes, horizontal roots).

As found out by biology students at Roy Island University, any broken portion of cypress-shaped milkweed can propagate vegetatively.


Seeds can be sown as before winter, falling asleep with a 2-cm layer of loose substrate, consisting of garden soil and sand, and in early spring. Seeds do not stratify before planting.


The optimal time for the cut: the end of May - the beginning of June. For cuttings, young shoots with more than 20 leaves are chosen.

Next, perform the following operations, be sure to wear protective gloves:

  • cut the upper part of the stem with 10-15 leaves with a sharp knife;
  • wash the latex layer from the handle with warm water;
  • fall asleep with crushed activated carbon, the cuttings of the cuttings and the uterine plant;
  • cut branches are placed in heat for drying for 1-2 days;
  • planted in a mini-greenhouse.

The landing tank is filled with a drainage layer (2-3 cm), then with soil in equal proportions:

  • garden soil;
  • sand.

It is useful to add a few crushed tablets of activated carbon.

The soil should be slightly moist: the euphorbia does not tolerate excessive moisture.

After a month, the cuttings take root and can be planted in the garden. To make the roots strong and healthy, root-forming solutions are used - Kornevin, Heteroauxin.

Dividing the bush

If euforbia is already growing in your garden, it is most convenient to propagate it by division. The operation is carried out in April-May, when flowering begins.

No special skills are required here: on each dividend there are at least 2 kidneys.

You just need to separate the dividend along with part of the horizontal root and transplant to a previously prepared place.

Vegetative Regeneration

Shoots can develop from any, even deeply buried part of the root. Roy Island University students noted how from 2 parts of living roots the following year grew:

  • 240 branches from the main rhizome;
  • 160 - from horizontal.

The fastest reproduction of cypress cypress leaves is through regeneration.

Diseases and Pests

Euphorbia is practically not defeated by disease. He can die only from a prolonged excess of moisture.

White milky juice perfectly protects it from single pests, however, in case of epidemics, the plant can be affected by insects

Name of defeatSignsPrevention
Fungal diseasesPowdery plaque on leaves and stems, rust, ugly curved stems. It is rare.Avoid excessive humidity and contact with diseased plants. Treat with fungicides.
WhiteflyColonies of inactive larvae on the back of the leaf Humidity reduction, insecticide treatment. In the initial stage, with a soapy solution.
Spider miteThe stalk is shrouded in cobwebs.
NematodesThe leaves turn yellow and fall, the shoots are curved. Treatment with phosphamide.
WormsThe plant is covered with powdery bloom, lumps of cotton wool-laying eggs of the pest are visible.

This flower grows in the garden and without your participation. Even an inexperienced gardener-florist can look after him, creating incredibly beautiful compositions with his help.

The aggressiveness of euphorbia is easy to suppress by regularly pruning growing roots. And then your garden will delight guests and household with its elegance and charm.

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