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Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Milkweed)

The most delicious little dumpy form of the many different forms of Euphorbia characias. Compact, rounded and the soft hairiness of the bluey grey leaves gives the whole plant a velvety look. Hence the name. Only grows to about 2ft across and 1 ft high.

Masses of light and reasonably well drained soil are all that’s required but brace yourself for more horticultural iconoclasm of a didactic nature: if you like the shape (you will, every one does), remove the flowers as soon as they appear. They ruin the shape and they’re pretty weird looking anyway.

Horticulture is dominated by flowers. Very often the description of a plant is not a description of the plant but a description of the flower of the plant. Being Architectural Plants, our emphasis is always on the shape of the plant and not the flower. We sometimes seem to fly in the face of convention and in the case of this plant, the flowering weakens the plant and causes it to lose it’s nice compact shape – to us, a jolly good reason to see them off.

Propagated by cuttings.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.