Snow-in-Summer, Ghost Weed

Snow-in-summer develops and is an annual grass. See more pictures of annual flowers.

Snow-in-summer is a native of the eastern United States. The names "snow-in-summer" and "ghost weed" come from the white, variegated margins on the edges of its leaves. The sap can be irritating.

Descri­ption of snow-in-summer: Snow-in-summer grows rapidly from seedling stage, branching to a small bush 1 to 3 feet tall. The lower leaves are virtually all green, but progressively toward the top, more white appears on leaf edges. When flowering begins, the top leaves are mostly white. The real flowers are tiny, the color coming from the modified leaves called bracts.


Growing snow-in-summer: Snow-in-summer grows well anywhere in full sun -- from cool, moist locations to dry, rocky places. It reseeds vigorously. Space plants 12 inches apart.

Propagating snow-in-summer: Start new plants as seeds. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed. Thin to desired spacing. Or start indoors 7 to 8 weeks prior to planting out. Seeds germinate in 10 to 15 days at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Uses for snow-in-summer: Plant where large drifts of the green-white combination are wanted to cool the landscape. Snow-in-summer also makes a nice border or temporary hedge for pathways and sidewalks.

Snow-in-summer related species: Euphorbia heterophylla, "summer poinsettia," has bright red bracts about 4 inches in diameter on plants 2 feet tall. It is also called "Mexican fire plant," "painted leaf," and "fire-on-the-mountain." Euphorbia lathyrus, with the common name of "mole plant" or "gopher plant," is often planted because it is supposed to keep moles away, a hotly disputed claim. Other names include "caper spurge." A handsome plant growing up to 5 feet tall, it has long, narrow leaves.

Snow-in-summer related varieties: White Top and Summer Icicle are two available selections. Summer Icicle is a dwarf, more compact form growing to 2 feet tall.

Scientific name of snow-in-summer: Euphorbia marginata

Want more information? Try these links:

  • Annual Flowers. Discover your favorite annual flowers. We've organized them by color, sunlight, soil type, and height to make it easy to plan your garden.
  • Annuals. There's more to an annuals garden than flowers. Learn about all of the annuals that enhance your garden.
  • Perennial Flowers. Complement your annuals with these delightful perennial flowers. They are also organized by height, soil type, sunlight, and color.