Some garden plants require constant irrigation and plenty of fertilizer to thrive. Caring for such plants is challenging.
It is on such a setup that a gopher plant becomes a viable option for your landscape. Besides being evergreen, it’s a drought-resistant and low-maintenance ornamental shrub.
Interestingly, it can almost withstand any well-drained soil type. Read on for complete tips on how to grow gopher Spurge.
- What Is a Gopher Plant?
- How To Grow and Care for the Gopher Plant?
- How To Propagate Gopher Plant?
- Possible Problems, Diseases, and Pests
What Is a Gopher Plant?
The Gopher plant (Euphorbia rigida) is a perennial succulent shrub. Many gardeners call it by various names:
- Gopher spurge
- Silver spurge
- Upright myrtle spurge
Silver spurge belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is native to southern Europe.
The drought-resistant gopher spurge stays evergreen and needs minimal maintenance. For that reason, it fits even rocky gardens.
How To Grow and Care for the Gopher Plant?
Here are a few essential tips for growing and caring for the gopher shrub.
Tip #1: Size
At full maturity, upright myrtle spurge registers a height of about 1-2 feet and spreads out 2-3 feet.
Its succulent leaves assume a spiral pattern on the thick stem. Make sure to give it enough room to grow.
Tip #2: Sunlight and Temperature
Silver spurge requires plenty of direct sunlight. So, select a point where it can enjoy at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. However, it can also tolerate partial shade.
As an indoor plant, locate it close to the window to receive sunlight. Its high tolerance level braves both hot and cold months. It can survive even temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Tip #3: Watering
Gopher spurge has low water demand and so survives drought. After planting, rigida euphorbia doesn’t need frequent watering.
Provided the soil around it is moist, don’t sprinkle more water on it. You can water the plant once a month or two when it dries (for instance, during summer).
Excess water promotes the rotting of its roots. Therefore, the best trick is deep irrigation without flooding.
Tip #4: Soil Type
The upright myrtle spurge plant isn’t selective about soil. The succulent plant grows even in the shallow rocky soil of various PH values.
But you must choose soil with good drainage that occasionally dries. Otherwise, the roots are sure to rot.
Tip #5: Pruning
Pruning the gopher plant in the early fall after the flowering phase is vital. Cut out the withered flowers and stems.
Trimming enhances plant growth and overall beauty. But take note of the poisonous milky sap that oozes from the plant.
Therefore, put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands before trimming off dry parts of the plant.
How To Propagate Gopher Plant?
You can propagate the plant from cuttings or seeds. Often the plant self-seeds and hence becomes a viable shrub to plant across the rocky slope of your garden.
Seed propagation takes a long time (up to six months) and is often unreliable.
When propagating the plant using the cutting method, implement the following:
- If you don’t have fresh cutting material, buy it from the local garden store.
- Employ the rooting hormone to boost your success rate.
- Use well-drained cactus soil.
In addition, reflect on the following propagation tips.
Tip #1: Safety Preparation
Wear protective gloves on your hands and glasses to keep off the irritating milky sap.
Tip #2: Get Timing Right
It’s best to make the cutting in spring before flower buds sprout. That gives the plant more time to root.
Cut only the mature and healthy branch close to the gopher plant. Use a sharp, sterilized knife to minimize plant injury. A cutting of length 5 to 7 inches long is adequate.
Tip #3: Control Sap Flow
Sprinkle cold water on the severed part to control oozing.
Alternatively, you can bring a lit candle closer to the oozing part for a few seconds to minimize the flow of white substance.
Tip #4: Forming of Callus
Let the cutting dry off in a warm, dry, and aerated setting.
The gopher plant should take approximately 3 to 4 days to develop a callus.
Tip #5: Rooting Medium
For the right rooting medium, you can use a blend of perlite, sand, and peat moss in equal proportions or rooting hormone and cactus soil. But ensure the soil drains well.
The cutting should go about a third of its length in the soil. Keep off the setup from direct sunlight. But the soil should always be moist and not wet.
The gopher cutting should take root in a couple of weeks. Using a warming mat to raise the container’s temperature to about 77 degrees Fahrenheit speeds up the process.
Possible Problems, Diseases, and Pests
The major problem in growing gopher spurge regards watering. Excess water causes its roots to rot. On the other hand, if it dries extremely, it withers.
Therefore, keep it moist but not wet. One possible solution is using soil that drains well.
On the other hand, aphids, nematodes, and spider mites are a common bother to the plant. But insecticidal soaps help fight such pests.
Gopher surge is a low-maintenance, perennial succulent plant. It survives on almost all well-drained soil and sunny locations.
You can grow it in pots, borders, or on rocky slopes of the garden. Remember, the white sap is toxic.