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Euonymus fortunei Growing Guide

Grow Spindle / Winter Creeper in your Garden

The Euonymus fortunei plant is native to China, Japan, Korea, and SE Asia. It is deemed as a locally invasive plant in many parts of the world, especially the southern USA and Canada where it can aggressively attack forest openings and margins. Please only grow it in areas where it will not affect the natural habitat and be sure to keep it under control in areas where it the climate enables it to grow aggressively.

There are numerous cultivars that are used as ornamentals in the garden. These have been chosen for their attractive variegated leaves, and for their slower and dwarf or shrub-like growth, which makes them much more suitable for growing in the garden in areas where it may grow aggressively. Some of the commonly grown cultivars include Moon Shadow, Emerald Surprise, Canadale Gold, Silver Queen, Harlequin, and Emerald Gaiety. Most of the garden Euonymus fortunei garden plants are derived from the variety 'radicans'.

Winter Creeper

Variegated Euonymus fortunei photograph by peganum.

If allowed to grow as a vine some varieties can reach over 66 feet (20 m) in length, but most garden varieties grow as shrubs and typically reach 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm) in length. It has a similar growing nature as Ivy despite not being related.

Quick Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific name: Euonymus fortunei
  • Common Name (s): Winter Creeper, Spindle, Fortune's spindle, wintercreeper
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 4 to 9 / H5

Plant Details

  • Life Cycle/Type: Garden species tend to be low growing evergreen shrubs; climbing vine; Herbaceous Perennial
  • Plant Height: Typically 6 to 9 inches (15 to 25 cm); shrubs to 3 feet (1 m); vines up to 20 m
  • Plant Spread: Shrubs: 6 inches to 4 feet (15 cm to 1.5 m)
  • Blooms: Mid spring
  • Flower Details: Inconspicuous. pale green-yellow.
  • Leaf Foliage Details: Opposite. Serrated margins. Leaves are typically dark green, though the range of cultivars often have variegated leaves of yellow / gold and green
  • Fruit: Round. pink to red

Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight and partial shade
  • Soil Moisture: Well drained. Moist.
  • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Spreads vegetatively. Grow in controlled areas/containers. Ideally grow garden specific cultivars that are designed to grow slowly and as dwarfs. Vines set seed easily and may easily grow out of control.

Further Information

  • Best used in: Ground cover, for evergreen color, edging, slope cover to prevent erosion
  • Miscellaneous : Invasive
  • Family: Celastraceae
  • Further Reading and References used: Wikipedia; Invasive Plants Atlas



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Common Garden Species
Index – A

Alchemilla mollis
Aleurites moluccana
Allamanda cathartica
Allium aflatunense
Allium caeruleum
Allium giganteum
Allium Globemaster
Allium moly
Allium schoenoprasum
Alnus glutinosa
Aloe vera
Amaranthus retroflexus
Amaryllis belladonna
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Amelanchier alnifolia
Amelanchier canadensis
Ammi majus
Anemone blanda
Anemone coronaria
Anemone hupehensis
Anemone sylvestris
Anethum graveolens
Annona reticulata
Anthurium andraeanum
Antirrhinum majus
Aquilegia vulgaris
Aralia elata
Araucaria araucana
Araucaria heterophylla
Arbutus unedo
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Argyranthemum frutescens
Armeria maritima
Aronia melanocarpa
Artemisia absinthium
Artemisia vulgaris
Arum italicum
Aruncus dioicus
Arundo donax
Asarum europaeum
Asclepias curassavica
Asclepias incarnata
Asclepias syriaca
Asclepias tuberosa
Asimina triloba
Asparagus densiflorus
Aspidistra elatior
Asplenium nidus
Astrantia major
Athyrium filix-femina
Aucuba japonica

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