I don't know if you figured it out yet, but The Plant Provocateur is all about the funky lookin' flora that mother nature has designed for us to enjoy. Here she gets all Dr. Suess on us and sets our souls on fire with the fabulousness of Euphorbia atropurpurea. Have you ever seen such fez-like flowers before? The color contrast is seriously stylin'. The funky flower form is truly out of this world. Curious deep burgundy bracts whirl and swirl their way around strange yellow male and burgundy tasseled female flower parts. The look is fashionably futuristic.
Euphorbia atropurpurea comes to us from the spanish island of Tenerife located in the Canary Island chain. It is a perennial shrub that grows up to 4 feet tall and wide taking on a miniature tree-like form. At the end of its architecturally branching stems, it outfits itself with clean-cut, smooth, gray-green rosettes of foliage tinged with a tone of mellow yellow. The overall look of this shrub is refined. Its sculptural quality really gives it a very modern appeal.
In or out of bloom, Euphorbia atropurpurea looks good. Flowering is an added and eye-catching bonus. The color, the form, and composition of the flower heads atop these rosettes of foliage is truly sensational! Now to grow one of these babies you've got to give it full to part-sun, well-draining soil, and average to low water. One thing to note is that all parts of this plant are poisonous which makes it deer and gopher resistant. Also, it becomes drought tolerant once established. So it's tough and beautiful; just use caution when the plant is pruned or injured as it will release a sap that is caustic.
Euphorbia atropurpurea is a truly fashion forward plant. It can look at home in a succulent garden as well as in an informal english garden. Respect it and it will give you gorgeous results. It is a plant that may be delightfully dangerous yet well worth growing. So are you feeling dangerous? I know I am.