Euonymus fortunei 'Variegatus'
Common Name: wintercreeper
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Celastraceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, 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.


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. Promptly remove any plants which revert to non-variegated foliage to maintain uniform ground cover appearance. 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.

'Variegatus' is a variegated intermediate form which is most often grown as a sprawling, bushy, indefinitely-spreading ground cover (6-12" tall). It features lustrous, ovate to elliptic, green leaves (1-2" long) variegated with white. 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. The cultivar name of 'Variegatus' is often loosely applied in the nursery trade to a number of different variegated forms, many of which are unstable and tend to revert to green or other color combinations over time.


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.