How to Grow Euonymus

A common shrub of which there are many varieties, and both evergreen and deciduous.   Most of the evergreen varieties are grown for their colourful, strongly coloured foliage and these are the fortunei cultivars.  Illustrated above on the left is E.fortunei 'Harlequin' which is a low growing compact variety with a slight pink tinge to the leaves. On the right is the frequently grown  E. fortunei 'Emerald n Gold' which is a really bright shrub which will light up a shady corner, being tolerant of partial shade. One of the advantages of growing Euonymus is that they are tough plants which will tolerate less than ideal conditions, making them suitable for growing in a difficult area of the garden.

 Euonymus are easy to grow and vary significantly in size depending on the variety. Euonymus prefer reasonably well-drained soil and will grow in sun and partial shade, although the variegated varieties do better with more sun. That said, as a tough evergreen, Euonymus will tolerate less than ideal soils, exposed areas, windy corners and a fair amount of shade.  Euonymus require no real pruning or maintenance and are maintenance free.  

Below are images of two of the most commonly grown evergreen varieties, Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n'  Gold  (right) and Silver Queen (center) illustrated as mature shrubs. If you are planting a mixed shrub border, Euonymus is a good addition as they are so easy to grow and their variegation stands out even on gloomy days. The fortunei varieties are tough and will grow in an exposed site which makes them a useful garden shrub and they will also tolerate a very alkaline soil.

As with all variegated plants sometimes shoots and leaves grow without variation. If this should occur, cut the shoot out right back to the main shrub centre to  maintain the variegation in the foliage.

For ease of reference, this is a selection of evergreen shrubs and most Euonymus are evergreen,  it is worth mentioning here that there is a commonly grown, deciduous variety illustrated top centre, Euonymus 'Red Cascade' which has strong autumn colour and berries. For more information, check out shrubs with Autumn and Winter colour, some deciduous euonymus look fantastic in autumn.

Euonymus is versatile,  with excellent variegated foliage and often overlooked as a commonplace shrub, but to do so would under estimate their garden value as a maintenance free garden shrub with lovely variegated foliage.

 Check out Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs for more planting ideas.


Euonymus is easy to grow, tough tolerant of all growing conditions, maintenance free definitely and a green wheelbarrow shrub. 

Euonymus planting combination


Euonymus planting scheme in the image which is Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald and Gold', a yellow flowering Rhododendron luteum, (which is wonderfully scented) and Aquilegia 'Swan Lavender'  a brilliant bright spring combination. 

Euonymus flowering

Euonymus fortunei Emerald and Gold in flower

Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald and Gold' has attractive white flowers which add to its value as a great garden shrub.

Silver leaved Euonymus

There are also some very good silver leaved varieties of Euonymus. 

Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'

As the name suggests, a deciduous compact form of Euonymus growing to around 1.5 with fantastic autumn colour. This variety and other Euonymus are available from Crocus.

last updated 05.11.2020