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Past Articles Library | How to Grow and Care for the Euonymus

If you are looking for a new shrub for your landscape, you cannot go wrong with a euonymus shrub.  This landscape favorite can be found in varieties that grow like a vine, to a shrub, to even a tree.  They as a group provide year round interest from colorful foliage, interesting bark, and unique flowers and fruit.  One well known euonymus is the “Burning Bush” that starts out in the spring as a green leafed shrub.  As the temperatures cool, the foliage begins to turn red and in doing so this is where the name “Burning Bush” comes from.  Later on in the season, red berries will form, which provide wildlife food. 

The euonymus works well in partial sun to shade and even bright sunlight.  They as a group can grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8.  If you are afraid to plant anything new because of deer, do not worry.  These shrubs are deer resistant.  Beyond that, they work well in landscape design as living fences, and ground covers.  The reason for this is the fact that many varieties of the euonymus can grow up to 24 inches a year under ideal conditions. 

When planning on using a euonymus in your landscaping, the first step is to check with your local extension agent.  Why is this?  Well, due to the quick growth of this plant, some varieties of the euonymus are deemed invasive.  Once you have determined if your variety is invasive, you will need to decide the fate of your planting accordingly.

To plant your euonymus, starts off with the proper location.  The euonymus shrub can tolerate shade to direct sunlight.  While the soil type is not important for this shrub, the soil drainage is very important.  It will not tolerate “wet feet,” which is where the roots sit in water.  Prior to planting your shrub, make sure you at least observe the ground after a rain.  If you notice water pooling on the soil surface then you can safely say that the soil is not well draining.  Once you have determined this, you are ready to plant.

To begin the planting process, you will first need to dig a hole that is twice the width of the container and the same depth.  After that is done, place the planted pot in the hole to check the depth and width of the hole.  Adjust as needed.

Once the hole has been dug, you will need to scrape the inside of the hole.  Why do you need to do that?  Well, the answer is simple.  If you have a high level of clay in your soil make up then you have a situation by which the inside of the hole will become hard like a clay pot.  This process is called glazing and this simple process will keep the roots of your plant from growing outward from the hole.  The glazing itself will keep the roots in the hole by which they will just grow in a circle.  This will eventually kill the plant.  To prevent this, you will need to deglaze the hole.  This is easily done by scraping the inside of the hole with a garden rake.

Next, remove the euonymus from its container by cutting away the pot.  After the roots have been exposed, examine the root ball and cut away any diseased or dead roots.  Gently tease the roots with your finger to loosen them up a bit and tell them they can grow outward.  Once that is done, place 2 inches of garden soil in the bottom of the hole and place the roots in the hole.  Fill in with soil.  Water in to remove any air bubbles and refill with soil as needed to make sure the hole’s soil level and the ground are equal.

Sprinkle a slow release fertilizer on top of the soil and top with mulch for weed control.

To control the growth of this shrub, one can prune the plant material in the spring.  Do not worry about pruning too much.  This shrub is very resilient when it comes to pruning.

As low maintenance as this variety of shrub is there is a few plant disease problems that occur.  This includes scab, powdery mildew, crown gall, anthracnose, and cersocpora leaf spot.  While most of these are caused by fungus, the main issue is due to wet weather or damage to the plant material.  There really is nothing you can do about Mother Nature but you can make sure that spent leaves are raked up in the fall and disposed of.  This will aid in preventing a fungus takeover of the shrub.  As far as the bacterial issue goes, you can prevent it from taking hold by reducing plant damage through proper pruning techniques and weeding strategies.   

Since the euonymus is such a fast growing plant, you may want to share the wealth of your plant material.  To do this, starts off with cutting.  To begin this propagation technique, one will first need to clean all the materials that will be involved in the propagation.  This means soaking your cutting tool, and pot in a container of water with a capful of bleach.  Allow them to soak for a few minutes and then wipe down.  Rinse in clear water and set out to dry.  After your materials have dried, you are ready to begin cutting.

The first step of this process is to place drainage material in the bottom of your pot.  In a separate container, mix equal parts sand and peat moss.  Once that is done, mist with water.  After the soil has been moistened, fill the pot with the prepared soil and gently tap down.  Now you are ready to begin harvesting your cuttings.

Survey your plant and find healthy branches that are at least 12 inches long.  Once you have found them, take your knife and cut the branch off at a node at an angle.  A node is the little knot on the stem by which the leaf comes from. 

Next, cut your 12 inch long cutting into 3 to 4 inch pieces.  Make sure that all the cutting is at an angle.  For each 3 to 4 inch piece, remove all the leaves except the top 4.  Dip the cut end into a powdered root hormone.  Once that is done, take a pencil and poke a hole in the prepared soil.  Place your treated cutting into the hole and pat the soil around it.  Repeat the process with all the cuttings.  After a pot has been filled, place the container in a clear, plastic bag and tie off.  Put your starts in a warm room that receives indirect sunlight.

Monitor the soil moisture weekly and in about a month you should have rooted euonymus.  How do you know if they are rooted?  If the starts are gently tugged on, they should resist.  Once the starts are about 1 inch in height remove from the plastic bag and transplant into individual pots. 

Continue to take care of them until the spring arrives.  At that time, you can transplant them in your garden space.


 
 








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Gardening-tip:

Growing Caladium

Caladiums grow from tubers sold in the spring.

You can buy the tubers and plant your own, but buying a full-grown plant is the easiest way to know what color the leaves will be.

Give your Caladiums high humidity or the leaf margins may turn brown.


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