Euonymus Spindle Bush Info: What Is A Spindle Bush

(Image credit: Robert Knapp)

What is a spindle bush? Also known as common spindle tree, spindle bush (Euonymus europaeus) is an upright, deciduous shrub that becomes more rounded with maturity. The plant produces greenish yellow flowers in spring, followed by pinkish red fruit with orange-red seeds in autumn. The dull green leaves turn yellow in fall, eventually morphing to yellow-green, and then finally an attractive shade of reddish purple. Spindle bush is hardy to USDA zones 3 through 8. Read on and learn how to grow spindle bushes.

How to Grow Spindle Bushes

Propagate spindle bush by taking semi-ripe cuttings from a mature plant in late summer or early fall. Plant the cuttings in a mixture of peat moss and coarse sand. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and water often enough to keep the mixture moist but never saturated. You can also plant spindle bush seeds, although the seeds are notoriously slow to germinate. Gather spindle bush seeds in fall, then store them in a plastic bag filled with moist sand and compost until spring. Plant the seeds and allow them to develop indoors for at least a year before moving them outside. Preferably plant spindle bush in full sunlight. You may also plant the bush in dappled sunlight or partial shade, but too much shade will diminish the brilliant fall color. Nearly any type of well-drained soil is fine. If possible, plant two shrubs in close proximity for more effective cross-pollination.

Spindle Bush Care

Prune your spindle bush plant to the desired size and shape in spring. Spread mulch around the plant after pruning. Feed your spindle bush every spring, using a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer. If caterpillars are a problem during the blooming season, it’s easy to remove them by hand. If you notice aphids, spray them with insecticidal soap spray. Diseases are rarely a problem for healthy spindle bushes.

Additional Euonymus Spindle Bush Info

This fast-growing euonymus shrub, native to Europe, is highly weedy and invasive in some areas, including the eastern part of the United States and Canada. Check with your local extension office prior to planting to ensure that it’s okay to do so. Also, be careful about planting spindle bush if you have young children or pets. All parts of spindle bush plants are toxic if eaten in large quantities and may result in diarrhea, vomiting, chills, weakness, convulsions, and coma.

Mary H. Dyer

A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.