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Info Sheet PDF
Gopher Plant

Euphorbia rigida (E. biglandulosa)

Mature Height*: 

1-2 ft

Mature Width*: 

3-4 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Range:

7 to 11

Hardy to: 

0°F

Water Requirements: 

Drought Tolerant

Shade Requirements:

Full Sun, Partial Shade

Native to:

Across Mediterranean from Portugal, North Africa, Syria, Turkey and Iran

Origin and Adaptability:

Native to the diverse landscapes of South Africa and the Mediterranean region, Euphorbia rigida, commonly known as Gopher Plant, Rigid Spurge, or Upright Myrtle Spurge, showcases remarkable adaptability to various hot and dry climates. Thriving in well-drained soils, this resilient succulent offers landscape architects a unique and versatile design element. Originating from the Mediterranean, Gopher Plant is well-suited for landscapes with arid conditions and is a great regionally appropriate plant for xeriscapes, rock gardens, and desert landscapes.

Architectural Form and Foliage:

Gopher Plant is celebrated for its striking sculptural form, featuring rosettes of blue-green leaves that form a visually appealing display. This unique form and steely blue color provide designers with an aesthetically captivating canvas. Whether used as a centerpiece in modern designs, as an accent in Mediterranean-themed gardens, or as part of a xeriscape backdrop, its foliage adds a touch of sophistication to outdoor spaces, enhancing the overall visual appeal with its distinctive growth habit.

Floral Display and Growth Speed:

Gopher Plant is known for its showy, cone-shaped flower heads in vibrant chartreuse tones. With a moderate growth rate of around 8-12 inches per year, this species ensures a balanced combination of prompt establishment and long-term manageability for landscape designers, allowing for the creation of landscapes that evolve gracefully over time.

Light and Water Requirements:

Thriving under full sunlight, Gopher Plant reaches its full potential when exposed to at least six hours of sunlight daily. Well-suited for arid environments, it is drought-tolerant once established due to a deep root system, requiring minimal watering. This adaptability makes it an ideal choice for sustainable landscape designs where water conservation is a priority.

Wildlife Support and Biodiversity:

While not a significant wildlife attractant, Gopher Plant's inconspicuous flowers may attract pollinators, such as bees, contributing to the overall biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Edible Practices:

Gopher Plant is not known for being edible and should be kept from consumption due to its toxic sap, which can cause skin irritation. Landscape architects should consider this factor when planning designs, especially in areas accessible to pets or children.

Challenges and Considerations:

Gopher Plant is generally low-maintenance but like other Euphorbias, exudes a milky sap that can irritate skin. Landscape workers should wear gloves during handling and planting. While moderately sized, reaching up to 3 feet tall, its mature size requires consideration during planning.

Integration into Landscape Designs:

With its striking form, minimal water needs, and wildlife benefits, the Gopher Plant adds a touch of drama and resilience to various landscapes. It can be used as a stunning focal point in rock gardens, create textural contrast in modern designs, or be grouped for a dramatic hedge. Its ability to attract pollinators further enhances its ecological value.

Designing with Gopher Plant:

For landscape architects and designers, Euphorbia rigida, commonly known as Gopher Plant, provides an opportunity to infuse outdoor spaces with unique architectural beauty and adaptability. Whether featured prominently or subtly integrated into a diverse plant palette, this succulent adds a touch of sophistication to landscape designs, creating dynamic and environmentally conscious outdoor environments.

*Height and width estimated for growth in the Tucson, AZ area. True sizes may vary.

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