Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Inneuphe' DIAMOND FROST
Common Name: spurge
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers freely
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is easily grown in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It generally appreciates some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Must have sharply-drained soils. Tolerant of some poor soils, including rocky-sandy ones. Generally has good drought tolerance, but still appreciates some moisture in dry summer periods. Overwatering can be fatal, however. Although technically a tropical/semi-tropical perennial, this plant is often grown as an annual throughout most of the continental U.S. where it will not survive winter temperatures. Whether winter hardy or not, many gardeners simply prefer to let plants succumb to winter temperatures and to repurchase new plants each spring. Where not winter hardy, this plant may be grown in containers that are brought indoors before first fall frost for overwintering in a sunny window. Cut back stems and take containers outside again in spring after last frost date.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euporbia hypericifolia, sometimes commonly called graceful spurge or baby’s breath euphorbia, is a bushy compact plant that typically grows in an upright mound to 12-20” tall. It is native to the southernmost parts of the U.S., Mexico, the West Indies, Central America and South America. It is noted for producing an abundant, non-stop, spring-to-fall bloom of showy white-bracted flowers reminiscent of baby’s breath (Gypsophila). Unique to plants in the genus Euphorbia, the tiny flowers of this plant are borne in a cyathium (inflorescence with a cup-like involucre containing a single pistil ringed by several single stamens). The flowers are ornamentally insignificant, but each inflorescence is subtended by large, long-lasting, showy white floral bracts which, from a distance, are often mistaken for being flower petals. Simple, opposite, green leaves (to 1 1/2” long) are elliptic to oblong. Broken plant stems contain a toxic white milky sap which frequently acts as a significant irritant to skin, eyes and open cuts and is poisonous if ingested.

In tropical to semi-tropical climates, this plant can spread invasively, particularly in some of the Pacific Islands where it has been introduced, including Java and the State of Hawaii. It is also known to act as a significant weed in soybean, sugar cane and cotton fields in some countries.

Some experts currently recommend that the name of the within plant be changed to Chamaesyce hypericifolia which is currently considered to be a synonym.

Genus name probably honors Euphorbus, physician to the King of Mauretania.

Specific epithet means having leaves like Hypericum (St. John’s Wort).

‘Inneuphe’ (aka ‘Inneuphdia’) is commonly marketed in commerce under the trade name of DIAMOND FROST. It was discovered and selected in the spring of 2004 from a population of E. hypericifolia plants growing in a controlled environment in Gensingen, Germany. U.S. Plant Patent PP17,567 was issued on April 3, 2007. Patent documents specify that ‘Innuephe’ differs from the parent E. hypericifolia in the following respects: (1) more uniformity; (2) more freely branching; (3) more freely flowering; and (4) smaller flowers.

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Interesting perennial for use as specimen or in groups. Borders. Containers. Hanging baskets. Often grown as an annual or indoor plant. Wear gloves when working with this plant and avoid contact with its toxic sap.