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Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Euphorbia 'Ascot Rainbow'Those of us in northern climates are suspicious when we’re told showy evergreen Euphorbia are hardy for us (zone 6), with good reason. Arctic winds and lack of snow cover often dessicate the foliage and those the early blooms. Well we’ve had mixed results with the fabulous Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’, and what we’ve learned is it’s all about siting. That being said, we’d grow this plant regardless of winter hardiness because it looks good for the entire growing season, from early spring into December.

Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is a selection of E. x martinii. It boasts beautiful gold and green variegated foliage tinged with coral red, especially on the new growth and when temps are cooler. Multiple red stemmed branches form 18-24″ mounds. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ blooms on new and old growth, with adorable variegated bracts exposing tiny red flowers. I’ll say this again, this plant looks fabulous the entire growing season here in New England, and because of this it is equally as wonderful in containers as it is in open ground.

Now in regards to siting: we used Ascot Rainbow in container plantings at an urban restaurant, where they looked so fabulous at the end of the winter  that we left them in for the spring display. Really! In this protected spot, surrounded by buildings radiating heat, the Euphorbs were quite happy. In open ground we’ve had mixed results. In a raised bed with good drainage the plants came through, although we had to cut back the sad looking evergreen foliage after the winter. Snow covered much of the ground during the winter of 2010 and 2012  and our plantings came through unscathed. The recommendation: good drainage, protection from wind,  in sun or partial shade.

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10 Comments

  1. My Ascot Rainbow Euphorbias are looking amazing right now (zone 6, CT). Beautiful red, green, yellow foliage. I am hooked on them. Going to plant other varieties next year.

    Reply
    • If the Euphorbia are planted in a protected spot, they are amzing plants for winter interest.

      Reply
  2. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article
    and the rest of the site is extremely good.

    Reply
  3. I love the Ascot Rainbow plants. I have 10 as a boarder plant. The wind has caused several to lean and one broke off completely at the base. Can they be pruned back to take some of the weight off them? I don’t want to kill them! Can you start them from a pruning?

    Reply
    • You can root nonflowering shoots of Euphorbia, although they are not fast to root. The plant has a patent on it, so I legally need to make you aware that “propagation is illegal”. I’m sure no one would find you out unless you are offering the plants for sale. So, if a cutting were to “break off” and you just happened to stick it in sand…that’s all I’m going to say.

      Reply
      • I have planted Euphorbia “Ascot Rainbow’ and ‘Blackbird’ in very well drained soil in a southwest exposure very close to my home’s foundation, and they have come through the past 3 winters beautifully. I’m sure the location is quite protected from winter wind.

        Reply
  4. Very informative article. Thank you. I have a dozen that did not winter well last season and look a bit sad at this point. Thinking the spot may not be protected enough. Love the plant enough to keep trying. 🙂

    Reply
  5. March 18, 2018 I planted 4 Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow close to the foundation of my home on a south west exposure in Boise Idaho…they are looking BEAUTIFUL!!! I’m hoping to get a few years out of them.

    Reply
  6. I live in northern Virginia — zone 7 — and I have a beautiful ascot rainbow in a container on my balcony near the railing. I live on the 8th floor so it can get windy up here and in the summer the temperatures on the balcony can climb to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The euphorbia did beautifully all spring, summer and fall. I would really like to protect it from the winter cold and winds. I would prefer not to bring it inside since it is a large plant and heavy. Do you think wrapping it in burlap and moving it close to the windows would help it? Thanks for the article.

    Reply
    • Anita, if there is more protected spot on your balcony close to the building, move it there. It is the root temperatures you have to be most concerned with. Plant pots becoming saturated with winter wetness and then the back and forth freezing/thawing conditions of the soil around the roots is the biggest issue. Try to wrap the pot base with layers bubblewrap, and if move to a position close to the building where the plant may stay a bit dryer, is my recommendation.

      Reply

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