Cushion Spurge Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush' (v)

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
cushion spurge 'First Blush'


Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush', commonly known as cushion spurge, is a striking perennial plant known for its vibrant and colorful appearance. This particular variety, 'First Blush', boasts unique foliage that undergoes a lovely transformation throughout the season. The leaves are originally a bright green, but as they mature, they develop a stunning pink edging, giving the impression that the plant is blushing, hence the name 'First Blush'. In spring, the cushion spurge produces an abundance of small, inconspicuous flowers that are surrounded by showy, yellow-green bracts. These bracts are often mistaken for the flowers themselves due to their prominence and attractive hue. As the season progresses, the pink margins of the leaves intensify and may spread to cover more of the leaf surface, providing a vivid contrast against the green center. The overall form of the cushion spurge is mounded, with the plant creating a dome-like shape that lends itself well to borders and garden beds. Its texture adds further interest; the leaves are slightly fleshy with a smooth, glossy finish, which catches the light and adds a sparkle to the foliage. During the fall, the leaves may take on a reddish or purplish cast, offering yet another change in appearance before the plant retreats for the winter. The cushion spurge 'First Blush' is a dynamic and changing plant that provides gardeners with a long-lasting display of color and form throughout the growing season.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Cushion Spurge, Polychrome Spurge.

    • Common names

      Euphorbia polychroma 'First Blush', Euphorbia polychroma var. epithymoides 'First Blush'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Cushion Spurge contains a white, milky sap that is toxic to humans. If the sap comes into contact with skin, it can cause irritation, redness, and swelling. Should the sap enter the eyes, it can result in serious eye irritation or damage. If any part of Cushion Spurge is ingested, the toxic substances can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can lead to more serious reactions and should prompt immediate medical attention.

    • To pets

      Cushion Spurge is toxic to pets due to its white, milky sap, which contains irritant and toxic substances. When ingested by pets, it can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. Contact with the sap may also cause skin and eye irritation. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to more serious health issues. If you suspect your pet has ingested Cushion Spurge, it is important to consult a veterinarian immediately.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 feet 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Spread

      1 feet 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attractive Foliage: The plant features variegated leaves that provide visual interest throughout the growing season.
    • Easy to Grow: Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush' is known for being a low-maintenance plant that's easy to care for.
    • Drought Tolerant: Once established, it is quite drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for dry gardens or xeriscaping.
    • Spring Blooms: It produces vibrant yellow-green flowers in the spring that can add a splash of color to the garden.
    • Compact Size: With a compact growth habit, it's ideal for borders, rock gardens, or small spaces.
    • Deer Resistant: The plant is known to be resistant to deer, making it a good choice for gardens in areas with high deer populations.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides changing colors throughout the seasons; it offers a 'blush' of pink in cooler temperatures.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush', commonly known as cushion spurge, can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, providing a range of yellowish-green hues.
    • Cushion spurge's latex, which is sap-like and sticky, may serve as a temporary natural adhesive for small crafts or emergency repair for garden tools.
    • The resilient nature of cushion spurge makes it suitable for creating living barriers or edges in a garden to delineate different areas or paths.
    • Dried specimens of cushion spurge can be used in floral arrangements, providing an intriguing texture and visual interest that lasts longer than fresh blooms.
    • The dense growth habit of cushion spurge can be strategically planted to help control soil erosion on slopes or areas prone to runoff.
    • Cushion spurge, due to its distinct foliage, can be utilized in art projects, like leaf-printing or nature-inspired patterns for textiles.
    • Gardeners may use cushion spurge as a companion plant to deter certain pests from more susceptible vegetables and flowers, due to its toxicity.
    • The plant’s unique appearance, especially during its vibrant spring color phase, offers an aesthetic photographic subject for nature photographers.
    • Creates a natural green backdrop in a terrarium, adding structure and filling spaces without overshadowing smaller, delicate plants.
    • Used in educational settings, cushion spurge can be a live example to demonstrate plant defense mechanisms due to its toxic sap as a deterrent to herbivores.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Cushion Spurge is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Cushion Spurge is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Euphorbia epithymoides, commonly known as Cushion Spurge, often represents resilience because it can thrive in harsh conditions and is drought-resistant.
    • Protection: The milky sap found in Cushion Spurge has been used traditionally as a protective element against warts and skin ailments, symbolizing a form of natural protection.
    • Purification: Cushion Spurge is associated with purification due to its historical use in herbal medicine to cleanse the body and spirit.
    • Endurance: Symbolizing endurance, this plant has a robust nature that allows it to survive and bounce back after being cut back or damaged.
    • Warning: Due to its toxic sap that can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, Cushion Spurge also symbolizes caution or warning.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Cushion Spurge, or Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush', prefers consistent moisture but well-drained soil. During the growing season, water when the top inch of soil feels dry, approximately once a week, with about 1 gallon of water per plant. In hot and dry weather, you may need to water more frequently, while in cooler or rainy periods, less watering is required. It is important not to overwater as this can lead to root rot. During winter, when the plant is dormant, reduce watering significantly, only to keep the soil from completely drying out.

  • sunLight

    Cushion Spurge thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for this plant is where it receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily, although it can tolerate light shade, especially in hotter climates. Too little light can result in leggy plants and fewer flowers, so aim for a location that gets plenty of bright light throughout the day for optimal growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Cushion Spurge is hardy in environments where temperatures range between 30 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for this plant is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It can withstand short periods of colder temperatures down to about 30 degrees but should be protected from harsh frosts. Extended exposure to temperatures above 85 degrees may require additional shade and water to prevent stress.

  • scissorsPruning

    Cushion Spurge should be pruned to remove faded flowers and maintain its shape. Pruning is best done after the plant has flowered in the late spring. Cut back spent flower stems to promote a second flush of growth and blooms. Prune out any damaged or diseased branches as needed. This plant can be cut back hard, if necessary, to control size or rejuvenate an older plant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Cushion spurge (Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush') thrives in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A suitable soil mix contains equal parts of loamy garden soil, peat or coconut coir, and perlite or coarse sand. This provides the right balance of aeration, moisture retention, and drainage for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Cushion spurge does not require frequent repotting and can often be left undisturbed for several years. Assess the plant every 2-3 years and repot if it has outgrown its container or the soil has become compacted or depleted of nutrients. When repotting, choose a slightly larger pot to accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Cushion spurge is a resilient plant and adapts to a wide range of humidity levels but generally prefers an environment that approximates outdoor conditions. Average room humidity is typically sufficient, making this an easy-to-care-for choice for most indoor settings.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light and well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun to part shade, well-drained soil, moderate watering.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush', commonly known as cushion spurge, begins its life as a seed which germinates in the spring when soil temperatures rise. The seedling develops into a robust, clump-forming perennial with stems that grow upright and then turn reddish with the arrival of the warmer seasons. Its foliage starts green with a hint of red which eventually turns to a bright lime green with creamy edges. During mid-spring, it blooms with small yellow-green flowers surrounded by showy bracts that add to its ornamental appeal. After flowering, the plant may produce more seeds, which disperse in the area, while the main plant may go dormant in fall or winter, dying back to the ground to survive the cold. With the return of favorable conditions in the following spring, cushion spurge will regrow from the rootstock, renewing its life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Euphorbia epithymoides 'First Blush', commonly known as polychrome euphorbia, is typically propagated by division in the spring. Start by carefully lifting the parent plant from the ground with a spade, ensuring you keep as much of the root ball intact as possible. Gently separate the plant into smaller sections by either teasing apart the roots by hand or using a knife if necessary. Each section should have a good amount of roots attached for successful propagation. Replant the divisions at the same depth they were growing previously, spacing them about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart to allow enough room for growth. Water the new plantings well and keep the soil consistently moist until the euphorbia is established and new growth is visible. This method allows for the quick establishment of new plants and helps rejuvenate the parent plant by reducing overcrowding.