What is a Euonymus Plant?
Euonymus plants are a group of hardy shrubs that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Many sport vibrant colors and even variegated foliage. Euonymus are flowering plants, but the blooms tend to be inconspicuous. They go by many names including spindle tree and wintercreeper. These low maintenance shrubs are drought and salt tolerant and easy to grow. Euonymus plants can be evergreen or deciduous.
When to Prune Euonymus
Euonymus plants can be trimmed up any time of the year for a clean look. Heavy pruning should be done in early spring for evergreen euonymus and deciduous euonymus like the burning bush. Dead, broken, or diseased branches should be removed when you notice them.
How to Prune Euonymus
Euonymus plants do not require yearly pruning. They can be pruned to control size or shape or invigorate an older plant. Always prune back to a healthy bud pointing in the direction you would like the new growth to grow. Euonymus bushes that are severely overgrown, ugly or neglected can be pruned back all the way to the ground in early spring. If your bush is large, but in good shape try renovation pruning. Prune the height back by ⅓ and remove ⅓ of the oldest canes by using a saw or shears to trim them off at ground level.
When to Plant Euonymus
These shrubs can be planted throughout the year. Warmer climates should avoid summer planting. Colder regions should avoid planting in winter. Spring and fall are great times to plant euonymus. When planting in autumn, cooler areas should plant in early to mid fall.
How to Plant Euonymus
Your potted euonymus should be watered well prior to planting to ensure the root ball is as moist as possible. This helps prevent shock. Dig a hole about twice as wide as the root ball. When you place your plant in the hole, the top of the root ball should be slightly visible above the soil line. Gently tamp the soil back in the hole around the root ball. Immediately after planting, water deeply until the ground can no longer hold water. Add 1 to 2 inches of mulch in a mound around your new plant to help the soil retain moisture longer and reduce watering needs.
How to Care for Euonymus
Euonymus are easy to care for and grow. Most prefer to grow in full to part sun, but the burning bush can tolerate more shade. These tough shrubs are adaptable to any soil that drains well. Once established euonymus plants are drought tolerant. Watering is generally only needed in periods of extreme drought or for newly planted shrubs while they are establishing. These bushes do not require pruning, but tolerate it well. A balanced slow release fertilizer can be applied when planting and in spring. If your soil is poor, fertilize in fall as well.
Featured Euonymus Plants
Growing Zones 5 to 9
Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide
The fast growing burning bush (aka winged euonymus) offers fiery red fall color in a low maintenance shrub. The lush foliage is perfect for hedges. This deciduous shrub is very adaptable and can grow in sun or shade.
Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald Gaiety'
Growing Zones 5 to 9
Mature Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide
This cold hardy euonymus is a classy, variegated variety of winter creeper. This tough shrub has a very unique upright branching habit. It even acts as a vine up walls or other nearby structures and is the perfect evergreen for decorating your mailbox. This euonymus has excellent disease resistance.
Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo-marginatus'
Growing Zones 6-9
Mature Sixe: 5 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide
The golden euonymus is a standout evergreen shrub with its gorgeous yellow and green variegated leaves that dazzle in your landscape. This hardy plant can tolerate conditions from shade to sun and any type of soil. The golden euonymus is drought tolerant and requires little to no maintenance. They look fantastic as a small hedge or staggered throughout your landscape.
Euonymus japonicus 'Silver King'
Growing Zones 6-9
Mature Size: 5 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide.
This tough evergreen plant is heat, salt, pollution, and poor soil tolerant. With variegated leaves that are deep green and silver white, this euonymus stands out in the landscape.
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