Types Of Euonymus – Choosing Different Euonymus Plants For Your Garden

euonymus variety
euonymus variety
(Image credit: Gratysanna)

The genus "Euonymus” includes 175 different euonymus plants, from dwarf shrubs, to tall trees, and vines. They are known as “spindle trees,” but each species also has its own common name. If you are selecting Euonymus plant varieties for your landscape, read on. You’ll find descriptions of different Euonymus shrubs that you might want to invite into your garden.

About Euonymus Shrubs

If you are looking for bushes, trees, or climbers, euonymus has them all. Gardeners choose euonymus plant varieties for their attractive foliage and stunning autumn color. Some also offer unique fruits and seed pods. Many euonymus shrubs come from Asia. 

You’ll find that they are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, and include both evergreen and deciduous types of euonymus. That gives you a good selection of different euonymus plants to choose from when you are looking for border plants, hedges, screens, ground cover, or specimen plants.

Here are a few special types of euonymus to consider for your garden: One popular euonymus shrub for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8 is called ‘burning bush’ (Euonymus alatus 'Fire Ball'). It grows to about 3 feet (1 m.) high and wide, but accepts trimming, shaping, and shearing. 

In the autumn, the long green leaves turn brilliant red. Another versatile member of the euonymus shrub family is called ‘green boxwood.’ Its dark green leaves are glossy and stay on the plant all year long. Easy maintenance, green boxwood accepts trimming and shaping. 

Also take a look at euonymus ‘Gold Splash’ (Gold Splash® Euonymus fortunei 'Roemertwo'). It is hardy to zone 5 and offers large, rounded green leaves edges with thick gold bands. This showy plant is a stand-out and very easy to please in terms of soil and pruning. Golden euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Aureo-marginatus’) is another eye-popping shrub in this genus that makes an excellent addition to the landscape. 

Its forest green color is set off by bright yellow variegation. American euonymus (Euonymus americanus) has the appealing common names of strawberry bush or "hearts-a-busting." It is among the deciduous types of euonymus and grows to 6 feet (2 m.) tall.

It produces greenish-purple flowers followed by showy red seed capsules. For even taller types of euonymus, try evergreen euonymus (Euonymus japonicus), a dense shrub that grows to 15 feet (4.5 m.) tall and half that wide. It is loved for its leathery leaves and small white flowers.

For different euonymus plants that are good for ground cover, consider winter-creeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei). It might be the right shrub for you for you. Evergreen and only 6 inches (15 cm.) high, it can climb to 70 feet (21 m.) with the appropriate structure. It offers dark green leaves and greenish white flowers.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.