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Perennial favorite

Ascot Rainbow euphorbia is a colorful showstopper

Surefire ways to get season-long flower color in the garden are to plant annual flowers, perennial flowers or both. Occasionally, there is confusion as to which of these two groups come back each year. This is how I remember it: Annual flowers must be planted annually or every year. Perennial flowers are perpetual or should return from year to year. They both have their advantages, but once you plant perennials you don’t have to find the time to plant them again each spring.

One beautiful perennial flowering plant that is known to be heat and drought resistant is Euphorbia x martinii Ascot Rainbow. This euphorbia has the added advantage of being evergreen in most Kentucky winters. It flowers in the spring with abundant green and yellow bracts with small red flowers. The flowers are showy, but different and if you simply prefer the foliage you can just prune off the flowers each spring. 

The foliage is the showstopper. The sage green leaves edged with a yellow border entice you to stop and take a good look. In the winter, the colder weather causes the upper foliage to take on a red, pink or orange shade, adding to its beauty. Plant euphorbia in a sunny and well drained location; it does not require lots of watering once it’s established. 

Ascot Rainbow is both deer and rabbit resistant, and I have heard it described as fuss-free, alluring and vibrant, making it hard to resist planting more than one of this perennial. Even so, I have still not planted it in my own garden. Perhaps this September, which marks the beginning of the fall planting season, it’s time for me to plant one of my own, and I think I have the perfect spot.

SHELLY NOLD is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.

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