Euonymus: A Fast-Growing, Vibrant Beauty

Euonymus is a vibrant shrub that is found in most northern climates in the world. Originally from Asia, this evergreen plant is often chosen as a hedge or privacy border for gardens due to its hardiness and non-fussy nature. Euonymus is drought tolerant and needs minimal pruning or watering once established, which makes it an ideal choice for beginner gardeners in zones 3-9. Be sure to check with your local county extension office before planting as some varieties of Euonymus are considered invasive.

Fantastic Foliage Year Round

While Euonymus can handle direct sun to partial-shade locations in the garden, make sure the plant receives some sunlight each day as that helps keep its foliage bright and glossy. The foliage is the showstopper on this plant, getting even more stunning late into the fall months. You can expect abundant, beautiful leaves in blues, greens, and golds with many varieties turning bright red, orange, or even purple in the fall. Euonymus produces tiny flowers, but they often blend in with the variegated leaves so look closely to see these tiny wonders. 

Planting and Care

It is best to plant this perennial in a location with well-draining soil in the early spring or late summer. To plant Euonymus, dig a hole twice the size of the pot, loosen the roots if they are bound tight, then gently insert the plant and pack the dirt back around it, pressing down to settle the plant into place. Ensure the root ball is level with the soil and add a generous layer of compost around the base of the plant. Water thoroughly. Euonymus generally does not require fertilizer, but an all-purpose blend may be added at planting to give the plant a headstart on growth. 

Like most perennials, Euonymus needs consistent watering until established. After the first growing season, the plant will need very little additional water.

This plant does not need yearly pruning but can be shaped in early spring before new growth begins if desired. To propagate Euonymus, take an 8-12” cutting from a semi-hardwood side shoot in the spring. Strip the lower leaves and dip in a rooting hormone. Pot up your new cutting and keep moist as the roots establish. If possible, overwinter this cutting in a greenhouse to be planted in the garden the following year.

Two favorites for us this season are: Silver Queen and Emerald Gaiety.