Gopher Plant Care (Euphorbia Rigida)

The Gopher Plant, also known as Euphorbia rigida and formerly Euphorbia biglandulosa, is popularly known for its stunning narrow, pointed, blue-green, sharp leaves. It is a perennial succulent native to the Middle East regions and the Mediterranean region.

Furthermore, this drought-resistant evergreen plant grows to about 2 feet tall with a three-foot spread producing rounded clusters of paper-like chartreuse yellow flower bracts that naturally appear at the end of each branch, especially in early spring.

In this article, we look at how to properly take care of a Gopher Plant.

Does The Gopher Plant (Euphorbia Rigida) Have Any Other Names?

The Euphorbia rigida is also known by other common names that include:

  • Upright Myrtle Spurge
  • Gopher Spurge
  • Silver spurge

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Different Types of Gopher Plants

The Upright Myrtle Spurge is one of the numerous Euphorbia plants for the landscape and belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family.

Main Uses of Gopher Plants

Due to its perennial succulent nature and its stunning appearance, the Gopher Plant has a vast number of uses that include:

  • Some small insects find shelter inside the plants’ broad shady leaves, while small bees and birds love feeding on the nectar of its whitish-yellow flower.
  • Scientists study the Gopher Plant for electricity generation, biofuel, medicine, and other numerous applications.
  • The Euphorbia rigida adds significant beauty and accent to different planting setups such as desert landscapes, pots, rock gardens, and pools.
  • This plant is the perfect addition in areas that need ground cover, including beds and borders.
  • The Gopher Plant is suitable for xeriscape landscaping.

How to Prune Gopher Plants

Pruning is crucial in maintaining the plant’s appearance and early blooming. Therefore, it is essential to prune your Gopher Plant by removing its stems after flowering to allow new ones to grow, especially in early fall, to facilitate a quicker rejuvenation process. Remember to wear proper gloves to avoid getting into contact with the plant’s sap.

Best Soil for Gopher Plants

The Silver Spurge is not picky about the type of soil it grows in or the pH levels. In fact, it can do well in almost any kind of soil, including sand, chalk, loam, and clay. However, the only condition needed to facilitate the plant’s striking appearance is that the soil should be well-drained.

How Much Light Do Gopher Plants Need?

Gopher plants grow well outdoors in full sun however they can adapt to growing indoors and you can significantly increase its growth potential by placing your plant closer to bright and sunny windows.

How Often to Water Gopher Plants

Naturally, the Euphorbia rigida can thrive in harsh drought environments. This means that, once grown, these plants can survive for long periods of time without water. That said, you should occasionally water your plant to promote growth and replenish its energy. Be careful not to overwater it as this can result in root rotting.

Ideal Temperature Conditions for Gopher Plants

Due to the hard and succulent nature of Gopher Plants, these plants can tolerate colder monthly temperatures of about 0 degrees Fahrenheit as well as hot and dry summer climates.

Best Fertilizer for Gopher Plants

Although the Upright Myrtle Spurge plant can successfully grow in poor soil, you can add organic matter or fertilizer to the growing mix at least once a month. Moreover, you can feed your plant with a well-balanced and diluted 10-10-10- fertilizer during its initial growth cycle at least twice a month.

How to Propagate Gopher Plants

Gopher Plants are known to self-seed and the best time for seed prorogation is during the spring season. Nonetheless, you could opt to propagate your Gopher Plant by using cuttings. Here are the steps:

  1. Make your own cuttings or purchase Gopher Plant cuttings at a local store.
  2. Carefully dip the cutting stem ends in 0.1 percent naphthalene acetic acid powder.
  3. Use well-drained cactus soil and rooting hormone or mix a succulent planting medium consisting of a mixture of perlite, peat moss, and sand in a container.
  4. Plant the cuttings.
  5. If you want to speed up the rooting process, place your sand container in a seedling heating mat of temperatures about 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. After a month, carefully transfer your stem cuttings to your garden.

During propagation, avoid over flooding your plant’s soil and exposing them to direct sunlight as this can result in your plant’s damage.

Ideal Pot Size for Gopher Plants

Typically, the Gopher Plant is a low maintenance bushy perennial plant that grows up to approximately 2 to 3 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet tall. If you decide to grow it in a container – rather than the garden – you will need a relatively large pot.

Repotting Tips for Gopher Plants

Repotting your gopher plant is not only important in replenishing your plants’ depleted nutrients but also encourages your plants to produce new growths faster. Nonetheless, you are advised to report your Gopher Plant as soon as it depletes all the ample nutrients in its soil or after it has overgrown your pot size- whichever happens first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Gopher Plants Edible?

Similar to the other Euphorbia plants, the Gopher Plant is poisonous if consumed. The plant’s milky sap can also result in skin irritation. Therefore, you should keep your plant out of reach from your curious children and pests.

Are Gopher Plants Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

The Silver Spurge is toxic to both cats and dogs if eaten. Therefore, it is crucial to place your Gopher Plant away from them.

Is The Gopher Plants Poisonous?

Generally, the Gopher Plant is toxic, especially the sticky, milky sap, which can cause severe eye and skin irritation if they come into contact with your skin.

Do Gopher Plants Prefer to Grow Indoors or Outside?

Gopher Plants are more suited to the outdoors considering their size, love for sunlight, and attraction to bees and insects. However, they can also adapt to and thrive in indoor conditions.

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Conclusion

The Gopher Plant, a member of the Euphorbias, is popularly known for its perennial succulent and minimal maintenance characteristics. This drought-resistant evergreen shrub is the perfect addition to any of your household collections due to its stunning, cool, silver-grey color and narrow, pointed, blue-green, sharp leaves that naturally cling firmly to upright stems. If you are planning to add it to your garden. This guide will help you keep it healthy and thriving.