Variegated Shrubs For Your Landscape

Shrubs and shrub-like perennials make up the majority of plants in the landscape, especially the variegated landscaping shrub. While often the result of a mutation or virus in nature, many variegated shrubs are now bred for their exceptional foliage. These plants are great for adding interest and color to dark corners of the landscape.

Deciduous Variegated Shrubs

Deciduous variegated shrubs are among the most versatile and can brighten up shady areas with ease. Try some of the following:

  • Hydrangea – Variegated hydrangea shrubs, like H. macrophylla ‘Variegata,’ not only provide stunning flower color but have attractive silver and white foliage for additional interest.
  • Viburnum – Try the variegated shrub variety (V. Lantana ‘Variegata’) with pale, creamy yellow and green leaves.
  • Cape Jasmine Gardenia – Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans Variegata’ (may also be called G. augusta and G. grandiflora) is a variegated gardenia with fewer flowers than your average gardenia. However, the beautiful gray-tinted foliage, which is edged and speckled with white, makes it well worth growing.
  • Weigela – Variegated weigela (W. florida ‘Variegata’) welcomes the landscape with white to pale pink blooms from spring through fall. Yet, its distinctive green foliage edged with creamy white is the shrub’s major attraction.

Evergreen Variegated Landscaping Shrubs

Variegated evergreen shrubs provide year-round color and interest. Some of the most popular varieties include:

  • Euonymus – Wintercreeper euonymus (E. fortunei ‘Gracillimus’) is a creeping evergreen shrub with colorful white, green, and purple leaves. The purple wintercreeper (E. fortunei ‘Coloratus’) has foliage that is green and edged with yellow, which turns pink in winter. Silver King euonymus (E. japonicus ‘Silver King’) is an upright shrub with beautiful, dark leathery green leaves and silvery-white edges. Occasionally, pink berries follow its greenish-white flowers.
  • Jacob’s ladder – Variegated Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium caeruleum ‘Snow and Sapphire’) shrubs have green foliage with bright white edges and sapphire blue flowers.
  • Holly – Variegated English holly (Ilex aquifolium ‘Argenteo Marginata’) is an evergreen shrub with shiny dark-green leaves and silvery white edges. The berries help set this shrub off, especially in winter, though you must have both a male and female to produce them.
  • Arborvitae – The Sherwood Frost arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Sherwood Frost’) is a beautiful slow-growing shrub with a dusting of white on its tips that become more prevalent during late summer and fall.

Perennial Shrub Variegated Varieties

Perennials offer a wide range of variegated options. Some of the most common shrub-like varieties include:

  • Autumn sage – The variegated autumn sage (Salvia greggii ‘Desert Blaze’) is a round bushy plant with bright red flowers nestled amongst its beautiful cream-edged foliage.
  • Perennial wallflower – The shrub-like perennial wallflower (Erysimum ‘Bowles Variegated’) has attractive grey-green and cream foliage. As an added bonus, this plant produces stunning purple blooms from spring through fall.
  • Yucca – Variegated yucca varieties include Y. filamentosa ‘Color Guard,‘ which has bright gold foliage edged in green. Once the weather cools, the foliage becomes tinged with pink. Variegated Adam’s Needle (Y. filamentosa ‘Bright Edge’) is a striking yucca with leaves that are edged with creamy white to yellow color.


Euonymus, genus of about 130 species of shrubs, woody climbers, and small trees, in the staff tree family (Celastraceae), native to temperate Asia, North America, and Europe. The genus includes many popular landscape ornamental shrubs and ground covers, a number of which are known for their vibrant fall foliage.

European spindle treeEuropean spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus) with autumn foliage.© Petrhunacek/

Winter creeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei), from East Asia, climbs by aerial rootlets. It has glossy evergreen leaves and clusters of greenish flowers followed by orange fruits. Its many cultivated varieties include bigleaf, glossy, sarcoxie, baby, longwood, and purpleleaf, widely used in landscaping.

The winged spindle tree (E. alatus), also called burning bush, is a handsome shrub with corky winged stems. The European spindle tree (E. europaeus), which grows to 6 metres (20 feet), keeps its poisonous pink and orange fruits after the leaves fall. In eastern Europe, gutta-percha resin is extracted from this plant. The wood is used for pegs and spindles, and several varieties of the spindle tree are grown as ornamentals.

  • winged spindle treeWinged spindle tree (Euonymus alatus), also called burning bush, in autumn.© Debra Millet/
  • European spindle treeEuropean spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus) in fruit.© Christina Hanck/

Another species called burning bush is E. atropurpureus, also known as wahoo, from eastern North America; it is similar to E. europaeus but has reddish fruits. The strawberry bush (E. americanus) from the same region is lower and has pinkish fruits.

wahooWahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), also called burning bush.Clarence Cook—The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today

Types Of Euonymus – Choosing Different Euonymus Plants For Your Garden

The genus “Euonymus” includes 175 different euonymus plants, from dwarf shrubs to tall trees and vines. They are known as “spindle trees,” but each species also has its own common name. If you are selecting Euonymus plant varieties for your landscape, read on. You’ll find descriptions of different Euonymus shrubs that you might want to invite into your garden.

About Euonymus Shrubs

If you are looking for bushes, trees or climbers, euonymus has them all. Gardeners choose euonymus plant varieties for their attractive foliage and stunning autumn color. Some also offer unique fruits and seed pods.

Many euonymus shrubs come from Asia. You’ll find that they are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, and include both evergreen and deciduous types of euonymus. That gives you a good selection of different euonymus plants to choose from when you are looking for border plants, hedges, screens, ground cover or specimen plants.

Popular Euonymus Plant Varieties

Here are a few special types of euonymus to consider for your garden:

One popular euonymus shrub for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8 is called ‘burning bush’ (Euonymus alatus ‘Fire Ball’). It grows to about 3 feet (.9 m.) high and wide, but accepts trimming, shaping and shearing. In the autumn, the long green leaves turn brilliant red.

Another versatile member of the euonymus shrub family is called ‘green boxwood.’ Its dark green leaves are glossy and stay on the plant all year long. Easy maintenance, green boxwood accepts trimming and shaping.

Also take a look at euonymus ‘Gold Splash’ (Gold Splash® Euonymus fortunei ‘Roemertwo’). It is hardy to zone 5 and offers large, rounded green leaves edges with thick gold bands. This showy plant is a stand-out and very easy to please in terms of soil and pruning.

Golden euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Aureo-marginatus’) is another eye-popping shrub in this genus that makes an excellent addition to the landscape. Its forest green color is set off by bright yellow variegation.

American euonymus (Euonymus americanus) has the appealing common names of strawberry bush or “hearts-a-busting.” It is among the deciduous types of euonymus and grows to 6 feet (3.8 m.) tall. It produces greenish-purple flowers followed by showy red seed capsules.

For even taller types of euonymus, try evergreen euonymus (Euonymus japonicus), a dense shrub that grows to 15 feet (4.5 m.) tall and half that wide. It is loved for its leathery leaves and small white flowers.

For different euonymus plants that are good for ground cover, consider winter-creeper euonymus (Euonymus fortunei). It might be the right shrub for you for you. Evergreen and only 6 inches (15 cm.) high, it can climb to 70 feet (21 m.) with the appropriate structure. It offers dark green leaves and greenish white flowers.


The euonymus group consists of trees and low-growing shrubs with variable habits that make them valuable in different garden designs. The most-often used euonymus is the burning bush, and, like it, many euonymus varieties feature stunning fall color. Others are grown for their showy fruits—typically hot pink and orange—or sprawling evergreen habit.

genus name
  • Euonymus
  • Part Sun,
  • Shade,
  • Sun
plant type
  • Shrub
  • 3 to 8 feet,
  • 8 to 20 feet
  • To 15 feet wide
flower color
  • White,
  • Yellow
foliage color
  • Blue/Green,
  • Chartreuse/Gold
season features
  • Colorful Fall Foliage,
  • Winter Interest
problem solvers
  • Deer Resistant,
  • Groundcover,
  • Good For Privacy,
  • Slope/Erosion Control
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Attracts Birds
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8
  • Division,
  • Seed,
  • Stem Cuttings

Colorful Combinations

Many species of euonymus are green; however, most of the low-growing types feature beautiful variegated foliage, most notably Euonymus fortunei. These plants have a unique habit that can be trained to be rounded shrubs, left to ramble, or even climb. With their bright gold, white, green, and sometimes pink foliage, they brighten a garden.

Many of the green varieties don’t begin to shine until fall. Once fall’s cool nights arrive, euonymus puts on a spectacular display of glowing oranges, reds, yellows, and burgundies. Others also have unique fruits with bright pink skin that open to reveal a bright orange interior.

Euonymus Care Must-Knows

With around 175 species in this family, you know requirements are going to vary. Soil condition requirements, however, remain fairly consistent. Ideally, euonymus should be planted in well-drained, medium-moisture soil. Wet soil is associated with rotting and other issues. Once established, euonymus is drought tolerant.

Euonymus varieties require different sun exposures. Many of the larger tree and shrub types, especially those with fall color, require more sun. While full sun is best, some varieties tolerate part and full shade. Low-growing and variegated types tend to tolerate shade. Many of the shrubby and low-growing types require trimming to keep them looking nice.

The one major pest is euonymus scale. These small insects cluster on E. fortunei types’ old growth, the undersides of the leaves, and the stems. The gray or white pests can be identified by their long, pear-shape bodies. The best solution is to remove infected plants, especially heavily infested limbs. Even after removal it may be necessary to follow up with a systemic insecticide to prevent future issues.

An important thing to note is that there are several euonymus species that have become invasive in native forests, especially burning bush and many E. fortunei types. Before planting any of these, check with local authorities to determine if this plant is considered invasive in your area.

More Varieties of Euonymus

Eastern wahoo

Image zoom

Euonymus atropurpureus is a delightful North American native shrub that offers bold purple fall color and attractive scarlet-red fruits in the fall. It grows 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Zones 3-7

‘Coloratus’ wintercreeper

Image zoom

Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’ is a groundcover or climbing variety featuring deep green leaves that lighten to pink or rose in fall. Zones 4-9

Burning Bush

Image zoom

Euonymus alatus bears leaves that turn a bold flame red in fall with reddish-purple berries. It can grow 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Zones 4-9

‘Silver Queen’ wintercreeper

Image zoom

Euonymus fortunei ‘Silver Queen’ is a groundcover that can climb walls or other structures (it can climb as high as 20 feet) and features green leaves accented with white. Zones 5-9

‘Emerald ‘N Gold’ wintercreeper

Image zoom

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘N Gold’ is a low shrub that sports gold-color foliage edged in green. The leaves turn pink in cold winters. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9

Garden Plans For Euonymus

Image zoom Image zoom

Euonymus Hedging Guide

Euonymus is a genus of flowering plants in the staff vine family, Celastraceae. A family of which consists of over 130 species including both deciduous and evergreen shrubs and small trees. For those unfamiliar with Euonymus hedging plants, you may recognise its English name, Spindle. Its secondary name originated from its historical use as the wood from some species was traditionally used for the making of spindles for spinning wool. Over time, their cultivation has seen this species appear frequently across the UK for the countless benefits they provide for our gardens and their unique appearance makes them popular in garden designs and throughout the show garden community. Their popularity stems from their ornamental foliage and their ability to establish a formal, structured look as they are utilised for garden borders to showcase pathways, create focal points and to highlight other garden features such as larger hedges or sculptures. When left to grow, their bushy habit allows them to create an informal look which therefore gives you the opportunity to create a more relaxed atmosphere than those trimmed to shape. Here at Hedges Direct, we have a fantastic selection of the best Euonymus hedging plants for you. Access the brightly coloured, variegated foliage that offer unique shades and patterns of green, whites, yellows and pinks. As our Euonymus plants are evergreen, their fantastic foliage is present year round so you have constant cover and exciting interest year round.
Our Most Popular Euonymus Hedging Plants
Euonymus fortune Emerald n Gold makes your garden look fit for the Queen with its bright green leaves edged in gold; the perfect garden jewel. Its colourful interest doesn’t stop there as it welcomes winter as the foliage transforms into soft shades of pink and red. For similar looking foliage, Euonymus japonicas ‘Ovatus Aureus’ plants offer variegated leaves, this time displaying dark green leaves with bright yellow outlines. In addition to its delightful foliage, summer green flowers appear in spring, occasionally followed by pink fruits. For alternative foliage colour, consider the white tinted patterns of Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and Euonymus japonicus ‘Kathy’. Both species exhibit polished, dark green leaves with a unique outline of white/silver. However, Euonymus fortune ‘Emerald Gaiety’ produces small, oval leaves and a more compact structure, compared to the large leaves of Euonymus japonicus ‘Kathy’ which creates a brilliant effect as they move simultaneously with a strong breeze. Euonymus japonicus ‘Jean Hugues’ displays lush, dark green, glossy foliage of a very compact nature. Hence why it is a popular alternative to Box (Buxus sempervirens) as it resembles the practicality of Box hedge plants, without the worry, Box blight – see more options in our Box alternatives and blight section.
Euonymus Pruning, Planting and Aftercare
Our Euonymus shrubs are fit for every garden as they will thrive in all types of growing conditions. These plants will thrive in moist-normal soils in shaded areas, but for their colour to fully flourish, they prefer positions exposed to full sun. For seaside gardeners, we know that you’re faced with extreme weather conditions but don’t worry, you can achieve all of your gardening goals, no matter your location when choosing Euonymus. These plants are a tough species which have an impressive success rate in all kinds of locations and coastal environments pose no threat to these hardy plants. With an average annual growth rate of 10-20cm, ideal for hedge heights of up to a metre, the variety of Euonymus hedging plants we supply are the perfect low maintenance, low growing shrubs. They simply require a quick prune in late spring in order for bushy growth to develop. They will thrive in exposed coastal and inland weather conditions, they favour no specific soil type and will grow in positions revealed to full sun and partially shaded areas.

Euonymus Hedging | Spindle Hedging Plants

Spindle Hedging Plants

At Best4hedging we provide a huge selection of hedging plants, including some of the best Euonymus hedging species. There are over 130 species within the Euonymus family and they each have an interesting history and provide great benefits to the garden. The name Euonymus is thought to be derived from the Greek words for good, eu and name, onoma which is believed to suggest a meaning of luck or fame.

Different varieties of Euonymus

Euonymus Europaeus is commonly known as Spindle, Common Spindle and European Spindle. It is a native hedging plant to Europe and the UK. William Turner the ‘father of botany’ gave it the name Spindle. When he could not find an English name for it he decided the Dutch name ‘Spilboome’ would do.

Euonymus Fortunei Emerald n Gold aka Winter Creeper is native to East Asia. It is named after Robert Fortune, the well known Scottish botanist and traveler who is famous for introducing tea plants from China to India in the 19th Century.

Euonymus Emerald Gaiety is also named after the botanist Robert Fortune. All parts of this plant may cause stomach upset if ingested.

Euonymus Japonicus Kathy (Japanese Spindle) and Euonymus Japonicus Ovatus Aureus are both native to Japan. Spindle Ovatus Aureus has young golden leaves and may sometimes be referred to as Golden Euonymus. It has received the RHS AGM award.

Best4hedging stock Euonymus in both bare root and pot grown plants. View our full range of pot grown hedging plants.

Common Misspellings of Euonymus

euonympus, yunimus, eunonimus, eunymus hedging, euomymus hedging, eunoymus, euonymous, eunonymous, euonymous hedge, eunonymous hedge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *