Flame Bush, Burning Bush, Euonymous Alata
Old fashioned Flame or Burning Bush is a reliable Euonymous that is easy to grow into a hedge. The leaves fall off in the winter, so it is not an effective privacy screen. Ours, in the photo is not a hybrid. It's the regular, inexpensive, one that originated in China and Japan.
We bought ours ten years ago at a nursery sale in a one gallon container. It has been pruned to the ground twice and we attempted to dig it out completely once. But here it is showing off its fall colors! Now, that's reliable.
Adaptable to most soils, even the hybrids are hardy. They must be watered in drought years or the leaves will crumble and fall off.
It is a good idea to prune Euonymous Alata and control the growth. If they get too thick to allow air circulation they can get powdery mildew damage or aphids can set up residence.
In some areas, such as Massachusetts and Connecticut, they are considered invasive.
The berries the shrub makes are eaten by birds in the winter and shrubs can grow everywhere the fertilized seeds are bird-planted. Regular pruning helps reduce the number of seeds.
Park Seed (www.parkseed.com) has a hybrid called Unforgettable Fire, Hayman variety, that they say turns fuscia in the fall. They recommend a hard late winter pruning to keep the color bright. Zones 5-9, 5 feet tall and wide.
Fire Ball, variety Select, is a Proven Winners selection available from Garden Crossings (www.gardencrossings.com). They say it is hardy to zone 3 and matures at 5 feet wide and 3 feet tall.
Patented plants should not be propagated, of course, but this native variety can be easily grown from cuttings taken now. Cut 6 to 8 inch lengths of healthy stem and remove the bottom leaves. Cut the leaves on the top of the stem in half and put the cuttings into water.
Combine and moisten enough sand and soil to fill the planting pot. Make a planting hole for each cutting, dip the end of the cuttings into rooting hormone and plant. Firm the soil around the cutting and sprinkle with enough water to settle the soil.
Cover the container with clear plastic and keep it out of direct sun. Check the cuttings every day for mold. Water as needed but keep the container well drained. If any cutting turns black, toss it out. In a month the cuttings should have formed roots along the leaf nodes where you removed the bottom leaves. Then they are ready for planting pots. In a few days they can be moved into direct light.
If you want to shop Euonymous choices, check out Plant Lust where they have 49 varieties to consider