Euonymus fortunei - Euonymus
Family: Celastraceae

Hear the scientific name

Euonymus fortunei is grown either as an evergreen, variegated shrub or as a semi-evergreen spreading groundcover. This broadleaf evergreen shrub is widely used as an accent plant in foundations, edgings, or group plantings. The groundcover form is a non-climbing alternative to the English Ivy, Hedera helix.

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  form Form

-usually a small-sized, broadleaf evergreen, ornamental shrub, maturing at 2-4' tall x 2-5' wide (depending upon cultivar); upright clump to spreading clump growth habit

-the var. coloratus of this species is a broadleaf semi-evergreen woody groundcover, forming a procumbent mat up to 1'

-medium growth rate for both forms, slowing with maturity unless frequently pruned

foliage Foliage

-evergreen to semi-evergreen leaves are moderately shiny, with virtually no petiole

-opposite arrangement, elliptical, and finely serrated to crenate on the margins, ranging from 1-3" long, depending upon cultivar

-medium to dark green or variegated, with different degrees of green, yellow and/or white

-autumn color is variable, becoming distinctly red-purple-bronzed for the solid green-foliaged groundcover var. coloratus, but having hues of dull gray-green or pink in addition to the persistent but faded variegation for the shrub forms, depending upon cultivar

-leaves persist throughout autumn and some may slowly abscise during winter, especially on the groundcover form

Flowers
flowers

-cream-yellow or lime-colored flowers bloom in June or July, but are usually not present or are ornamentally insignificant

Fruit

-dehiscent capsules; inconspicuous, if present at all

Twig
twig

-usually medium green with a hint of corkiness, changing to tan with age

-stems, when placed next to a climbable structure (e.g., block or brick foundation, chain-link fence, tall wooden timbers, etc.) will clasp to it and take on a short clinging vine stature (no higher than 6')

Trunk

-not applicable

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Culture

-full sun to partial shade (with the variegated forms performing best in partial sun to partial shade)

-tolerates poor soils, various soil pHs, soil compaction, heat, drought, shearing, and pollution, and is therefore urban tolerant

-propagated primarily by rooted stem cuttings

-possible damage from crown gall disease and euonymus scale pest

-abundantly available in containers

-rejuvenation shearing in early spring for the variegated shrub forms will keep their rapid growth inbounds and result in more vibrant variegated foliage

Hardiness

-zones 5 to 9

Origin

-native to China

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Assets

-many variegated shrub forms, and one prominently-used groundcover form

-evergreen to semi-evergreen broadleaf character, often either variegated (shrubs) or winter-bronzing (groundcover)

-urban stress tolerant

Liabilities

-very prone to euonymus scale (often slowly lethal unless the insect infestation is treated with pesticides and/or dormant oil, and always unsightly), with a secondary infection of gray mildew occuring in extreme cases

-both shrub and groundcover forms retain blown leaves due to the numerous low, upright stems and retentive foliage

Function

-foundation, specimen, facer, low hedge, edging, or group or mass planting shrub

-mass planting groundcover (if var. coloratus)

Texture

-medium texture in foliage

-thick density in foliage

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species

Alternates

-evergreen groundcovers (Hedera helix, Liriope spicata, Lysimachia nummularia, Vinca minor, etc.) or broadleaf evergreen shrubs (Ilex glabra, Ilex x meserveae, Mahonia aquifolium, etc.)

 


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