Chameleon spurge belongs to a huge genus that includes poinsettias as well as cactus-like plants. Like other Euphorbias the stem contains a milky sap that can be very irritating to the skin and its flowers lack petals and sepals. The flower head consists of clusters of a female flowers consisting of a single pistil, male flower consisting of two stamens, all surrounded by colorful bracts. In late spring chameleon spurge produces yellow to chartreuse bracts surrounding the tiny flowers and are in sharp contrast to the deep burgundy leaves that cover the plant. By fall both bracts and leaves turn dark purple. Plants grow in attractive mounds that slowly increase in size and give rise to new plants by self seeding. Although the mature plants are difficult to transplant, seedling are not.
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Bloom: Tiny single sex flowers are surrounded by colorful bracts in late spring.
Size: 1-1.5’ x 1-2’ W
Light: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 5-7
Care: Cut back after flowering to maintain form and prevent reseeding.
Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, nematodes, spider mites, fungal and bacterial diseases.
Propagation: Seed, division in early spring or fall
Companion Plants: Green or white plants