Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus'
WARNING: LOCALLY INVASIVE SPECIES

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 4 Professionals
Common Name: wintercreeper euonymus
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Celastraceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Evergreen
Tolerate: Black Walnut
Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) has been identified by a task force of the Missouri Botanical Garden as one of the top twenty plants known to be spreading into native plant areas and crowding out native species in our region. Wintercreeper spreads both vegetatively and by animal and water dispersed seeds. Because of its known invasive tendencies and difficult to control dispersal mechanisms naturalists recommend against planting this plant.

Culture

Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in sun to shade. Tolerates wide range of soils and soil conditions, except for wet ones. Spreads rapidly by creeping stems which root where they touch the ground. Good tolerance for urban conditions. Can be purchased from nurseries in flats or cell packs for large ground cover plantings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euonymus fortunei, commonly called wintercreeper euonymus, is a dense, woody-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen to semi-evergreen plant that comes in a variety of forms. It may appear as a trailing ground cover, a mounding shrub or a climbing vine.

'Coloratus' (commonly called purple wintercreeper euonymus) is primarily a trailing ground cover form which typically grows to 6-9" tall and spreads indefinitely by rooting stems as a sprawling, tangled, bushy mat. It is similar in habit to English ivy (Hedera helix) in that it spreads along the ground, rooting as it goes, until it reaches a vertical surface which it then begins to climb. It features lustrous, ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (1-2" long) which turn dark purple in fall and winter. Inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers may appear in June. Flowers are at best sparse, but are usually not present. If allowed to climb a wall, tree or other structure, this plant assumes more vine-like characteristics and is more likely to produce flowers, though still sparse and inconspicuous. 'Coloratus' is sometimes sold as Euonymus fortunei var. coloratus. It is one of the most popular evergreen ground covers available in commerce today.

Problems

Can spread invasively into lawns or adjacent garden areas or can climb adjacent structures. Euonymus scale can be a significant problem and should be treated if it appears. Anthracnose, crown gall, leaf spot, mildew and aphids can also be problems.

Garden Uses

Versatile ground cover for sunny or shady areas in the landscape. Also effective as an edger along paths or sidewalks, as a slope cover where it can also provide erosion control, as a foundation planting or as an ivy-like climbing vine for covering walls, chimneys or fences.