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Cow's Horn

Euphorbia grandicornis

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Cow's Horn (Euphorbia grandicornis) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Cow's Horn

Cow's Horn

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Cow's Horn (Euphorbia grandicornis) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Cow's Horn flowers

Cow's Horn flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  12 feet

Spread:  12 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  9a

Description:

An extremely thorny, decorative variety with spines in the shape of cow horns; narrow green foliage atop cactus-like branches that store moisture; showy yellow flowers followed by purple fruits; adds a truly exotic dimension to the garden

Ornamental Features

Cow's Horn features showy clusters of yellow flowers at the ends of the branches from mid spring to early summer. It has attractive dark green foliage. The glossy narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. It features abundant showy purple capsules in late summer.

Landscape Attributes

Cow's Horn is an open multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. Deer don't particularly care for this plant and will usually leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Cow's Horn is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • Rock/Alpine Gardens
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Cow's Horn will grow to be about 12 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It has a low canopy, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers dry to average moisture levels with very well-drained soil, and will often die in standing water. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in sandy soils. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Cow's Horn makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Its large size and upright habit of growth lend it for use as a solitary accent, or in a composition surrounded by smaller plants around the base and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, this plant may be too tender to survive the winter if left outdoors in a container. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Rock  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features

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