Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ – This succulent perennial/ subshrub has gray-green foliage that is covered with soft velvety hairs. It is smaller in height than the more common Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii, growing to only 24-30 inches tall but grows as wide if not even wider. It is attractive year-round and in spring and summer, the flower heads form at the branch tips covering the plant with a chartreuse color. Plant in full sun to light shade and water sparingly. Like all Euphorbia characias selections this one does an excellent job of seeding itself out, so beware. It is hardy to 0-10 degrees F. The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery’s garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Euphorbia ‘Portuguese Velvet’.

Euphorbia c. Portuguese Velvet

At a Glance

– Euphorbia Portuguese Velvet
– Evergreen blue-green foliage
– Green flowers
– Easy to grow
– Hardy

Plant Information

Euphorbia Portuguese Velvet is an architectural evergreen. An unusual and less often seen variety with velvety blue-grey-green foliage carried in whorls around the upright stems, green flowers with maroon centres in spring to early summer.

Euphorbia Portuguese Velvet is easy to grow and a great addition to a garden where it provides early season interest as the garden wakes up in spring! Best in full sun in any free draining soil. Hardy. Always wear gloves when pruning Euphorbia plants to protect skin from the milky sap. Caution: Irritant to skin and eyes, harmful if eaten.

Genus: Euphorbia
Variety: c. Portuguese Velvet
Category: Perennial
Height & Spread: Ht 90cms.
Flower Colour: Yellow
Foliage: Evergreen
Season of Interest: all year round

Colours and sizes are approximate and are intended as a guideline and may vary according to local conditions

Price Size Available Qty

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’ )

Botanical name

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’

Other names

Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’


Euphorbia Euphorbia

Variety or Cultivar

‘Portuguese Velvet’ _ ‘Portuguese Velvet’ is a compact, mound-forming to domed, evergreen perennial or subshrub with dense whorls of short, softly-hairy, succulent, grey- to blue-green leaves and, in spring, cymes of yellow-green flowers with reddish-brown to brown-black centres.




Compact, Cushion or Mound Forming, Domed


All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. The milky sap may cause irritation to skin and eyes.


RHS AGM (Award of Garden Merit)

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Yellow-green in Spring

Blue-green, Grey-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for


Generally pest-free.

Specific pests



Generally disease-free.

General care


Cut back spent flower shoots to ground level in late summer or autumn.

Propagation methods

Basal cuttings, Division

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Where to grow

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’ ) will reach a height of 1m and a spread of 1.25m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, Rock, Ground Cover, Low Maintenance, Mediterranean, Gravel


Plant in free-draining soil in full sun. If necessary, add grit or sharp sand to the soil to improve drainage. Dislikes winter wet, so a gravel mulch will help avoid rotting.

Soil type

Chalky, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage


Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral


Full Sun


South, East, West



UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4), Tender in frost (H3)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’ )

Common pest name

grape ground pearl

Scientific pest name

Margarodes vitis



Current status in UK


Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Main pathway; Vitis spp. plants for planting; already prohibited. However; further consideration of other pathways is required.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’ )

Banded-winged whitefly

Trialeurodes abutiloneus



Polyphagous whitefly native to the Americas with the potential to introduce harmful viruses to the UK. EU regulation should be considered and further assessed by EPPO.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Euphorbia characias ‘Portuguese Velvet’ (Spurge ‘Portuguese Velvet’ )

Powdery mildew: cotton; Powdery mildew: eggplant; Powdery mildew: pepper; Powdery mildew: tomato

Leveillula taurica


Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Believed to be present and no statutory action is being taken. Status needs to be confirmed by survey.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit:

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