Euonymus fortunei 'Kewensis'
Common Name: wintercreeper euonymus 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Celastraceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June
Bloom Description: Greenish white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates significant amounts of shade. Also tolerates a wide range of soils and soil conditions, except for wet ones. Established plants tolerate some drought. Good tolerance for urban conditions. Stems may root where they touch the ground. May be propagated by rooted stem cuttings. Good tolerance for urban conditions. Trim annually after flowering to maintain attractive shape. Inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers may appear in June.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euonymus fortunei, commonly called wintercreeper euonymus, is a dense, creeping to mounding, broadleaf evergreen to semi-evergreen subshrub that will also climb using adventitious roots. Native to East Asia where it can be found in forests, thickets, and scrublands. It may appear as a trailing ground cover, a mounding shrub or a climbing vine. This adaptable plant has escaped cultivation and is considered highly invasive in much of the eastern United States where it smothers and out competes native vegetation.

Genus name is an ancient Greek name referring to plants of this genus.

Specific epithet honors Scottish horticulturist and plant collector in China Robert Fortune (1812-1880).

'Kewensis' is a very low-growing, prostrate, trailing ground cover form which typically grows to only 1-3" tall and spreads indefinitely as a dense, sprawling mat. Somewhat 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 may begin to climb. It features lustrous, pea-sized (to 5/8" long), dark green leaves. Inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers may appear in June. Flowers are at best sparse, but are usually not present. If given support, 'Kewensis' will climb a wall or other structure in which form it is more likely to flower and fruit.


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. Can spread invasively into lawns or adjacent garden areas or can climb adjacent structures.


Where not deemed invasive it can be a 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. If used as an ivy-like climbing vine for covering walls, chimneys or fences, it more easily flowers and sets seeds that can increase its invasive spread.

Versatile, small-leaved, low ground cover.