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Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ is looking good right now in the Fairegarden. Very, very good. A previous post about it was written a few years back, click here for more information about this good looking if somewhat overly eager self sower.

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True to its name, the colors of this sprawling, evergreen Euphorbia come in a wide range. They continue to change as the temperatures move to chilling frostiness. During the warm months, they are shades of reds, purples and greens with the occasional pinky. Right now, early December, they are standouts in the garden.

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I adore this color, in anything, but especially in the garden with the black mondo, Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ and silver lambs ear, Stachys byzantina.

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The pink ones stand out well against the golden green Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ that is a foot soldier in the groundcover forces.

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Two pots of Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ were purchased to be part of the initial pond planting in 2000. They were set in the ground on either side at the top, pond side of the two threadleaf Japanese maples.

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Short lived perennials, those two parents are long gone, but their offspring now inhabit the entire pond area and beyond. They play well with others, especially equally aggressive plants such as the self seeding Helleborus orientalis.

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Admittedly, some of these get pulled out rudely, roots and all, although it is difficult to get every bit of the root, and that has turned out to be for the best. In spring, the colony of Chameleon along the forty foot wall behind the main house gets cut to soil level to allow the spring blooming bulbs to have the stage to themselves. It grows back quickly.

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This is the perfect back up singer plant to the headliners, (Spiraea ‘Magic Carpet’ looking ravishing before going naked for winter), whatever they may be, and are even allowed the spotlight solo on occasion. At one time, when control was higher up on the list of garden philosophy, Chameleon was not revered as it is now. That was a mistake and has since been rectified.


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18 Responses to Chameleon

  1. Nicole says:

    It does look very pretty Frances. Wish I could get any plant except for weeds to self sow in my garden!

    Hi Nicole, thanks for visiting. It was years before I realized which of the babies were weeds and which were self sowing good guys, and becoming less meticulous about them all.

  2. gail says:

    I love this plant and think it looks wonderful. I’m glad it is revered, neatness is sometimes very overrated~ especially in a garden. xoxogail

    HiGail, thanks for stopping by. I am glad you love Chameleon. There are some who would not want it because of its promiscuous ways. I used to feel that way, too, but have since become much wiser.

  3. Haa, I am like Nicole, I don’t seem to have luck with plants reseeding in my garden. I don’t ever remember a euphorbia even surviving in my garden. Hmmmmm something wrong with that picture. Of course I say that and I have an army of hollyhocks sprouting out there this year. I should have a nice stand of them this coming summer…right where I don’t really want them but hey, I will take them. Let it be, let it be, let it be….

    Hi Lisa, thanks for adding in here. It may be that your garden is too wet, or too something for the euphorbias. I can’t grow hollyhocks and when I buy one in a pot, something eats it to smithereens. The best self sowing occurs in the gravel paths, never the beds where I want something to grow. HA

  4. Layanee says:

    How lucky for you. Some things self-seed here but not that one. It does look quite festive in its red cloak.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. This garden is a lucky place, we noticed it before we even moved here ourselves. Plants just want to grow here, with or even better without human interference.

  5. Barbara H. says:

    It looks lovely, Frances. I’ll have to watch for it. I love Euphorbias – they have so much personality. I thought I had lost some I’d planted – they went missing for a year and then showed up a year later. I hope they return again. I have been known to nurture lovingly for months what turns out to be a clump of weeds. Who knows how many plants I’ve pulled that I actually want! I’m getting better at accurate identification in those early days of growth, thank goodness.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for sharing. I have done that same nurturing of true weeds, henbit in particular. Identification is the key to happiness!

  6. How nice for Fairegarden that the colorful euphorbia ‘Chameleon” has settled in with such generous numbers. I have a few shy lurkers but they tend to hide out in obscure places and I have to have a sharp eye to notice them. However, I do have some euphorbia relative that shows up each spring in positive hoards but after screaming in a loud chartreuse voice during its bloom time, it goes to seed and then disappears.

    Hi Michaele, thanks for adding in. I like the Euphorbias for many reasons, mainly the critter proof aspect. Chameleon is one of the hardier forms here, for certain. They do pop up in odd spots, don’t they?

  7. My Kids Mom says:

    I have this on my “to get” list, but I ought to boost it to the top. Of course I say this as I also wonder where I can put any more plants!

    It’s a good one, Jill, and sort of blends in with densely planted other types of plants. That anything can seed itself amongst the hoardes of self sown hellebores is a miracle, but this one does.

  8. Cindy says:

    If you wanted to share seeds with a friend in Texas, I’ll bet she wouldn’t say no!

    Hi Cindy, I will look for seeds to gather for you next year when they bloom!

  9. Dee says:

    I love how some euphorbias color up with the cold. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ does that too.

    Hi Dee, thanks for joining in here. Ascot Rainbow is so pretty, but it dies out after a couple of years in the ground here, sad to say, and is sterile. The same with the dark Blackbird. I still plant them, but they don’t spread about like Chameleon.

  10. Pearl says:

    The prettiest euphoria i’ve seen. Just love all the colors. Is it hardy in zone 5?

    Hi Pearl, thanks for visiting. Looking back at my original post on this plant, it says it is hardy zones 4-9, so yes!

  11. Scott Weber says:

    Beautiful…love those plants that are ever-changing…there’s never a dull moment 🙂

    Hi Scott, thanks for stopping by. I like the presto-chango plants too. This is really a good one, with lots of colors.

  12. Sandy & Richard says:

    This is the first year that we have ever planted a Euphorbia, it is a dark purple, with small greenish flowers, I fell in love with it when I saw it in local open garden…called ‘Wychewood’, a stunning place may I say, you may be able to see the garden on the net, it’s at a place called Mole Creek, Tasmania.
    Maybe Frances, we might have some pictures of your pond, I caught a glimps of it in one of your images, I’d love to have a pond, wouldn’t dare put fish in it though….Kookaburras would get them.
    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful pictures, I love to read other peoples comments also….from the otherside of the world. Warmest wishes Sandy.

    Hi Sandy and Richard from the other side! I love hearing about your garden and area, thanks for sharing. As for the pond here, it has had many reincarnations and was written about here-The Many Incarnations of the Pond. We have critters who sometimes get the fish, raccoons are the worst. I have put bird netting over the pond for protection, but then the birds don’t have a place to get a drink when the birdbaths are frozen in winter. I would love to see a Kookaburra! We sang a song about them in Girl Scouts.

  13. def have to get some of these! What a lovely, interesting plant.
    Thank you for sharing these fantastic photos!

    Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by. Chameleon is a good addition to a sort of live and let live garden, since it seeds about and pops up in odds places. Good luck with it!

  14. Sandy & Richard says:

    Frances, your pond is truly a feat of endurance and determination, magnificent in every respect, the bench is a perfect perch for fish watching, a thing I should take into consideration when we build ours. As for the Kookaburra, well I endeavoured to send a picture to Pinterest, and did something wrong so therefore it didn’t work, showing my ignorance of computers….big time.
    I think I know which song you sang at Girl Scouts….”Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, laugh Kookaburra laugh Kookaburra, gay your life must be”. And they do sound exactly like someone laughing raucously, it is a very special sound which floats through the landscape usually on hot days….very Australian.
    Today is the day we plant peas in the veggie garden, luckily it rained over night and now the sun shines warmly, they will thrive, peas by February. Warmest hugs Sandy

    Yes, that is the song, Sandy! How wonderful. I can only pin pictures to pinterest from my blog posts, so cannot be of much help there. Planting peas is a joyous occasion, good for rain and sun to be there to help them along. I do love fresh peas. Hugs to you!

  15. Oh yes, that is one fun plant! I’m going to have to look into that one! I have Euphorbia marginata, but the foliage fades back in the late summer. Your patch planted by the swan is enchanting!

    Thanks PP. I like the Euphorbias since the critters leave them alone due to that sap they all have. This is a good one. The patch by the swan was self sown, as all of them are now. I like it too.

  16. That makes a pretty vignette with the swan surrounded by the coat of many colors.

    Thanks Donna. The Euphorbias pop up where they will, that was a good pop-up place.

  17. Love it! Wish the market in South Africa warranted a greater selection of Euphorbias!

    Hi Jack, thanks for visiting. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your dear father.

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