The popularity of the euonymus in all areas of the Lothians is probably due largely to its undemanding nature. All varieties are fully hardy, most tolerate some shade and most are evergreen and so good value for money all year round. They are not normally troubled by pests or diseases, just occasionally by mildew.
But just because they are so popular in municipal planting schemes, don’t think that you can’t make excellent use of them in the home garden. Two deciduous varieties, Red Cascade and Euonymus Alatus, make fascinating feature plants, the latter being known as the Japanese Spindle bush and loved by landscape architects becasuse of its reddish purplish fruit , striking autumn leaves and rough, four sided stems, whjich are shown off once the leaves have dropped. There’s a stunning example in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.
Euonymus europaeous ‘Red Cascade’ (pictured above right) has narrow, oval leaves that redden in Autumn as red fruits open to show orange seeds. ‘Red elf’ (pictured above left) has pink fruits and red seeds. These deciduous varieties will also tolerate a drier soil than the evergreens, which do need a moist soil to keep them looking at their best all year.
Of the evergreens, myrianthus (above left) is a tall, bushy shrub with pointed leathery leaves. Dense clusters of greenish yellow flowers ar efollowed by yellow fruits that open to reveal orange-red seeds. ‘Macrophyllus Albus’ (above right) is a medium sized, upright, dense shrub with oval, dark green leaves edged with white. Like most euonymus, the flowers are not particularly significant.
Varieties like ‘Emerald and Gold’ (below left) or ‘Emerald Gaiety’ are smaller but more spreading and are best in the shrubbery or at the back of a border. Silver Queen (below right) is another spreading variety.
Smaller varieties like ‘Silver Pillar’ or microphallus are also good in pots, either on the patio or at the front door, to cheer you up as you venture out into the cold, wintry days, or in a dark corner of the garden that needs brightening up.
Quite a few euonymus nowadays are grafted on to a stem and clipped, like box, into topiary shapes, so make interesting features on terraces or patios.