Plants that stay green throughout the winter can add a spark to a home landscape. In the case of white or gold tipped Euonymus, one could say they add a sparkle.
One of the most durable shrubs and vines, Euonymous is available in many growth forms. They tolerate part sun to part shade or full shade and have no special soil needs except good drainage. Euonymus is ignored by rabbits and deer.
Most nurseries use the name Euonymus to cover all forms. It is a good idea to become familiar with the varieties in order to select the right plant for the space and purpose you have in mind. For example, Euonymus alata Monstrosa is known as deciduous burning bush.
Euonymus japonicus (or japonica) is a tough broadleaf evergreen. Some just call it japonica, Japanese Euonymus, or spindle tree. One bush variety called Ovatus Aureus has oval leaves with yellow and white margins. Silver King is similar.
Euonymus japonicus Microphyllus has tiny leaves. Microphyllus Variegatus is a dwarf form with tiny leaves edged in white. Silver Princess is similar in appearance but a tougher variety. It grows slowly into a 3-foot round bush.
E. japonicas Gold Spot has dark green leaves with a gold splotch in the center. It will grow up to 6 or 8 feet tall. Golden is reversed with leaves that have yellow on the outer rim and green in the center.
Another E. japonicus, microphyllus Pulchellus, Aureus or Butterscotch (any of these three names may be used), has shiny toothed leaves that are bright green edged with yellow.
Euonymous fortunei is hardy and heat tolerant. Its ability to climb, crawl or grow into a bush make it valuable in many garden settings. The summer flowers are insignificant but will result in berries if pollinated.
E. fortunei Vegetus is tall and bushy with large leaves. E. fortunei Kewensis and Harlequin have blotched leaves bordered with white.
E. fortunei Emerald Gaiety will grow into a 4-foot tall bush, a ground cover or a small vine that clings to a support. The leaves are green with a wide white margin.
Emerald ‘n Gold grows up to 2-feet tall with yellow edged leaves. Its prostrate form makes it a good ground cover around trees.
Sparkle 'n Gold has leaves edged with green-yellow that turn slightly orange in cold weather.
Harlequin is a low, trailing E. fortunei that stays under 10 inches tall. The leaves are speckled with green, yellow, cream and pink.
Ivory Jade grows into a 3-foot tall mound that will become 6 feet wide. Its deep green, round leaves have a white margin.
Kewensis has half-inch leaves with white veins. It is a trailing groundcover that grows under 6 inches tall. Given support, Kewensis can also be grown as a fine vine.
Minimus and Moonshadow are low growing groundcover forms with half-inch leaves.
Blondy is a new variegated E. fortunei. The leaves are touched with a yellow blotch and the stems are yellow.
Frosty Pearl has cream and white edges on dark green leaves. This variety likes a lot of shade. It will grow up to 5 feet tall as a climbing vine or can be allowed to grow as an evergreen mounding shrub.
Coloratus is a rapidly growing groundcover with dark, glossy green foliage. When the temperature drops the undersides of the leaves become a plum color (Purple Winter Creeper).
All Euonymus are easy to propagate from cuttings. In our climate their insect and disease problems are few.
Euonymus scale is uncommon on the large, evergreen, Manhattan Euonymus patens. A late winter dormant oil spray is recommended for other varieties.
All varieties of Euonymus are usually pruned annually to maintain their desired shape and form.