With the melting snow (after a second day well above 10 degrees there’s not much left… in by backyard anyway – rain later this week should take care of the rest and help clean things up a bit) I was able to get a good look at the plant that’s normally the first in my yard to flower. The pink seems to be winter colour, it will fade to blue once the weather warms up. I also cut back the Panicum you can see to the side, normally it stays upright all winter but that first storm was killer. It’s now got full sun for most of the day which should help speed things along.
It grows well in full sun with no extra water. It sends out long (1-1.5′) branches that will flower the next spring. I cut all the old growth back as soon as possible as much as possible once the new growth begins to take off. It will seed like mad if you let it and the hard pruning helps keep the plant looking a little neater. While it makes it through the winter well it does tend to look a little rough by the time it’s done flowering, and the new growth fills in fast enough.
I think about once a year I say I’m going to get rid of it but maybe because it is first it gets by me in the spring, and then because it keeps looking good for the rest of the summer with absolutely no effort it gets to stay. It’s not a favourite but it has definite strong points in its favour.
It is a Euphobia and the sap is an irritant. I have been careful with mine so I can’t tell you how bad it is but proceed with caution.