Euonymus japonicus 'Rykujo'
Common Name: euonymus
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Celastraceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Black Walnut

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-9 where it is best grown in moist, rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates full sun, but appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Thrives in sun-dappled conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euonymus japonicus, commonly called Japanese euonymus, is a dense oval evergreen shrub of the spindle tree family that typically grows to 10-15’ tall and to 5-8’ wide in cultivation, but may soar to as much as 25’ tall in the wild. It is native to Japan, Korea and China.

Opposite, tough, leathery, lustrous, ovate to obovate, dark green leaves (to 3” long) are blunt to rounded at the apex and tapered at the base. Leaf margins are serrated except near the base. Inconspicuous, four-petaled, greenish-white flowers in flattened cymes (5-12 flowers per cyme) bloom in late spring (June). Flowers are followed by showy pink fruits (capsules with red arils) which ripen in fall.

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

Specific epithet means of Japan, which is part of its native range.

‘Rykujo’ is a miniature cultivar (leaves to 1/2” long) that features dense foliage on stems rising to only 6-8” tall over the first five years.

Problems

Euonymus scale and powdery mildew can be troublesome. Watch for mites, leaf miner, aphids, mealybugs and crown gall. Additional diseases which may appear include witches’ broom, stem dieback, and fungal leaf spots.

Garden Uses

Foundations. Hedge. Specimen/accent. Woodland margins.

‘Rykujo’ works well in rock gardens.