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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow': new variegated euphorbia

Posted by Graham Rice on 05 Sep 2010 at 02:18 PM

Euphorbia,Ascot Rainbow,variegated. Image: ©Perennial Resource/Walters Gardens. All Rights Reserved.Variegated forms of the handsome Mediterranean euphorbias are always tempting as they provide bright foliage colour for the whole year. But experience has shown that some are hardier than others.

In the second of my looks back at the perennials I picked out as hot newcomers for 2010 right at the end of last year, Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow' stands out for its bright variegation and its winter hardiness.

Reaching about 20in/50cm in height, and about as much wide, the narrow blue-green leaves are edged in yellow and, especially in cool weather, the shoots tips are tinged with pink. Even the heads of dark-eyed green flowers areEuphorbia, Ascot Rainbow,variegated. Image: ©Perennial Resource/Walters Gardens. All Rights Reserved. tinged with yellow as they open the late winter and spring.

Found originally in Australia as a sport on the familiar dark-green-leaved E. x martini, it soon proved it could take the Australian summer heat. On trial in much colder climates than ours it also proved it could take a harsh winter. In parts of the country with cool summers that winter pink tinting will never entirely disappear.

An exceptional container specimen in a terracotta pot, ‘Ascot Rainbow' will also thrive in a sunny border in any soil that is well-drained; the two things it hates are all-day shade and wet feet.

Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow' is available from these RHS Plant Finder nurseries and selected garden centres across the country.

Acanthus,Whitewater,TerraNova,variegated. Image: ©Terra Nova Nurseries. All Rights Reserved.Still not in nurseries: Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ I picked this for its dramatic white variegated foliage, its white flowers on pink stems and its vigour. But, as far as I can tell, nurseries are less enthusiastic and it’s not yet available. Not to everyone's taste, it's true. But an opportunity for an enterprising nursery, perhaps…


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