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Euonymus

Euonymus

The euonymus group consists of trees and low-growing shrubs with variable habits that make them valuable in different garden designs. The most-often used euonymus is the burning bush, and, like it, many euonymus varieties feature stunning fall color. Others are grown for their showy fruits—typically hot pink and orange—or sprawling evergreen habit.

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Light:

Part Sun, Shade, Sun

Type:

Height:

From 3 to 20 feet

Width:

To 15 feet wide

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Special Features:

Zones:

4-8

Colorful Combinations

Many species of euonymus are green; however, most of the low-growing types feature beautiful variegated foliage, most notably Euonymus fortunei. These plants have a unique habit that can be trained to be rounded shrubs, left to ramble, or even climb. With their bright gold, white, green, and sometimes pink foliage, they brighten a garden.

Many of the green varieties don't begin to shine until fall. Once fall's cool nights arrive, euonymus puts on a spectacular display of glowing oranges, reds, yellows, and burgundies. Others also have unique fruits with bright pink skin that open to reveal a bright orange interior.

Euonymus Care Must-Knows

With around 175 species in this family, you know requirements are going to vary. Soil condition requirements, however, remain fairly consistent. Ideally, euonymus should be planted in well-drained, medium-moisture soil. Wet soil is associated with rotting and other issues. Once established, euonymus is drought tolerant.

Euonymus varieties require different sun exposures. Many of the larger tree and shrub types, especially those with fall color, require more sun. While full sun is best, some varieties tolerate part and full shade. Low-growing and variegated types tend to tolerate shade. Many of the shrubby and low-growing types require trimming to keep them looking nice.

The one major pest is euonymus scale. These small insects cluster on E. fortunei types' old growth, the undersides of the leaves, and the stems. The gray or white pests can be identified by their long, pear-shape bodies. The best solution is to remove infected plants, especially heavily infested limbs. Even after removal it may be necessary to follow up with a systemic insecticide to prevent future issues.

An important thing to note is that there are several euonymus species that have become invasive in native forests, especially burning bush and many  E. fortunei types. Before planting any of these, check with local authorities to determine if this plant is considered invasive in your area.

More Varieties of Euonymus

Burning Bush

Euonymus alatus bears leaves that turn a bold flame red in fall with reddish-purple berries. It can grow 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Zones 4-9

'Coloratus' wintercreeper

Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus' is a groundcover or climbing variety featuring deep green leaves that lighten to pink or rose in fall. Zones 4-9

Eastern wahoo

Euonymus atropurpureus is a delightful North American native shrub that offers bold purple fall color and attractive scarlet-red fruits in the fall. It grows 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Zones 3-7

'Emerald 'N Gold' wintercreeper

Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'N Gold' is a low shrub that sports gold-color foliage edged in green. The leaves turn pink in cold winters. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9

'Silver Queen' wintercreeper

Euonymus fortunei 'Silver Queen' is a groundcover that can climb walls or other structures (it can climb as high as 20 feet) and features green leaves accented with white. Zones 5-9

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