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As with all living things, even the hardiest plants require care, and strategies can vary quite a bit. As a new plant parent you have to get to know your plant: how tough it is or isn’t, how much water it really craves, and if it prefers classical music or a perhaps an 80s throwback (or maybe that’s just me wondering). A plant will go through various cycles and change shape and form as it grows with you, and sometimes those cycles might look like the end of the line. But if you pay attention, you might be able to pick up on some tell-tale signals that your plant is sending you before it’s too late.

When you first bring a plant home, make sure you understand what it needs in the way of light, water, soil, and other conditions, so that you can provide it the best possible imitation of its natural environment. Then, learn how to read its signals: A plant can go through stress for a multitude of reasons (most of which you have some control over) and it will normally let you know via its leaves. Dropping and/or changing color of leaves is one of the biggest signs that your plant is in stress. When you notice a change of this kind, however, don’t freak out and overcompensate. Take a moment to analyze the scenario and react accordingly.

What to do if your plant is in crisis:

Issue: You’ve instantly killed your plant

Diagnosis: If you’ve recently repotted a plant, it can experience shock, which should subside in 2 to 3 weeks.

Treatment: Just wait it out. Don’t try to add fertilizer to perk it up, as the potting mix you used for repotting most likely has food in it. A plant can only take in so much food!

Issue: The leaves are dropping off like flies

Diagnosis: If your plant is dropping leaves from the center of the plant (versus dropping leaves on the perimeter), it might not be getting enough light.

Treatment: If you’re not giving the plant the light that it needs, move it closer to a sunny window or buy a plant light.

Issue: Your plant is paling from green to yellow

Diagnosis: If the leaves are turning yellow — almost jaundice-looking — and the center stalk is turning brown and getting a little soft, chances are you might be overwatering your plant.

Treatment: Check to make sure that it’s draining properly (by looking for water in the drain tray), and adjust your watering schedule as needed. If your container has no drainage hole, you can use gravel at the bottom under the soil but that’s just a precaution and won’t guarantee good drainage. Using a good potting soil instead of topsoil for planting also encourages proper drainage. Lastly, remove yellow leaves, as they will not turn vibrant green again — and don’t worry, it’s all for the best.

Issue: Your plant is turning brown

Diagnosis: If the leaves are turning crispy brown from the tips, chances are your plant is drying out.

Treatment: Determine if your plant needs more water by checking the soil, and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. If you have forced air blowing on your plant, or it is getting too much sun, move it into a more habitable environment.

Issue: Your plant has been invaded

Diagnosis: If the leaves are turning colors and you see webbing or new bumps protruding from your plant, check for bugs. There are a multitude of bugs that could be munching on your plant such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects, and aphids.

Treatment: Determine if there are bugs and which kind they are by comparing with pictures online, then treat your plant with sn appropriate organic insecticide.

Issue: Your plant just won’t grow

Diagnosis: If your plant looks lackluster in general and isn’t growing very readily, figure out when you last fertilized it. We’re now getting into the warmer growing season when plants need some food; yours might be hungry!

Treatment: If you haven’t fed the plant in a while, you might want to start doing so. I like using a water-soluble fertilizer such as Fox Farm Grow Big or Big Bloom. Instructions come with each concentrated bottle.

Issue: Nothing helps!

Diagnosis: If your plant still isn’t responding to your care, consider when you last repotted it; maybe it’s time for you to find it a new home.

Treatment: Many plants will benefit from being moved into vessels about 10 to 20 percent larger than their current homes, every year or two. When you get to the point where you’re watering the plant much more often than you used to, or you see active roots popping up through the soil, it might be time. When repotting, massage the plant’s roots to loosen them before you pot it in its new home — that way they understand that there is room to move out and expand.

This story was originally published on How to bring a dying house plant back from the brink

How to Grow Euonymus

A common shrub of which there are many varieties, and both evergreen and deciduous. Most of the evergreen varieties are grown for their colourful, strongly coloured foliage and these are the fortunei cultivars. Illustrated above on the left is E.fortunei ‘Harlequin’ which is a low growing compact variety with a slight pink tinge to the leaves. On the right is the frequently grown E. fortunei ‘Emerald n Gold’ which is a really bright shrub which will light up a shady corner, being tolerant of partial shade. One of the advantages of growing Euonymus is that they are tough plants which will tolerate less than ideal conditions and are useful for a difficult areas of the garden.

Euonymus are easy to grow and vary significantly in size depending on the variety. Euonymus prefer reasonably well drained soil and will grow in sun and partial shade, although the variegated varieties do better with more sun. That said, as a tough evergreen, Euonymus will tolerate less than ideal soils, exposed areas, windy corners and a fair amount of shade. Euonymus require no real pruning or maintenance and as such are maintenance free. Below are images of two of the most commonly grown evergreen varieties, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold (right) and Silver Queen (center) illustrated as mature shrubs. If you are planting a mixed shrub border Euonymus is a good addition as they are so easy to grow and their variegation stands out even on gloomy days. The fortunei varieties are tough and will grow in an exposed site which makes them a useful garden shrub and they will also tolerate a very alkaline soil.

As with all variegated plants sometimes shoots and leaves grow without variation. If this should occur, cut the shoot out right back to the main shrub centre if necessary to maintain the variegation in the foliage.

For ease of reference, although this is a selection of evergreen shrubs and most Euonymus are evergreen, it is worth mentioning here that there is a commonly grown, deciduous variety illustrated top centre, Euonymus ‘Red Cascade’ which has strong autumn colour and berries.

Euonymus is a versatile, with some of the best variegated foliage of any garden shrub. They are often overlooked as a simple commonplace shrub, but to do so would under estimate their garden value as a maintenance free garden shrub with lovely variegated foliage.

Check out Fast Growing Evergreen Shrubs for more planting ideas.

Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus

Available Sizes to buy online All Prices Include VAT Height Excluding Pot:
15-20cm (0ft 5-0ft 7)

Pot size: 3 Litres

Plant ID: 7791 64
Was £20.00 40% Off – Now £12.00
Buy 3 for £54.00 40% Off – Now £32.40 Height Excluding Pot:
40-50cm (1ft 3-1ft 7)

Pot size: 5 Litres

Plant ID: 7140 A 64
Was £52.00 40% Off – Now £31.20

Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus is a slow growing boxwood-like plant which makes a great low growing hedge or border plant. It is an excellent choice in a variety of garden settings. Whether you plant just one in a pot, or a row of them as a low hedge, you will find that this low-maintenance foliage shrub will fit right in!
Native to Japan, Korea, and China, Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus has evergreen foliage for reliable year-round display. Its small, deep green glossy leaves are the main attraction, and the dense growth habit creates an effective low screen when grown as a hedge.
Hardy in most parts of the UK, Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus will reach a full height and spread of 20 cm metres in a period of 5 years, later reaching its full size of 30-60 cm. If planting as a hedge, space 15-20 cm apart. Prune out dead or damaged stems in early spring. Euonymus Japonicus Microphylluswill also come back from a severe pruning to the ground if renovation is necessary.
Plant Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus in full sun or partial shade, in moist but well-drained soil. They will do well in either a sheltered or exposed position, and are well-suited to planting in a coastal location as they are tolerant to salt and wind.
Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus is an extremely versatile plant which can be used in a variety of different ways in your garden plans. This small, slow-growing shrub is a natural choice for container growing, where its reliable year-round foliage will make it a star, whether on a rooftop terrace, balcony, or in a courtyard garden or on a patio. Place one Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus on its own, or several, each in its own pot, perhaps at different heights, to create a beautiful year-round picture. They are also a great choice to plant near a formal fountain or pond. While they are too low for a privacy screen, even at full size, Euonymus Japonicus Microphyllus makes an excellent low hedge to mark off different portions of your garden, especially where you do not want the view obscured. Its dense growth and evergreen foliage can line a pathway or edge a patio. A plant or two halfway back in a mixed border will make a pleasant background for flowering plants during the growing season, and then take centre stage when winter comes.

FREQUENTLY BOUGHT WITH >>Cupressus Arizonica SpiralLigustrum Topiary Half Standard TreesSalix Babylonica – Weeping Willow TreeAbies Balsamea Nana

Wintercreeper Euonymus

Outstanding Features

  • Evergreen foliage of varying color, depending on cultivar.
  • Varied growth habit, depending on location and cultivar. Some forms grow to 6″ high when left to sprawl on the ground or to 30 to 40′ high when given support on which to climb. Other cultivars are more shrub-like.
  • Easy to grow, transplants readily.
  • Fast growing.
  • Once established, will tolerate dry conditions.

Landscape Use

  • Used as groundcover, low hedging, vine, wall covering, in massing and groupings. Usage dependent on cultivar and location.
  • Foliage color useful for accent in the rock garden or mixed border.

Cultural Requirements

  • Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions except extremely wet conditions. Prefers an acid loam soil, but will tolerate a wide range of pH conditions.
  • Adaptable to full sun or heavy shade. Golden-leaved cultivars prefer full sun or medium shade.
  • Extensive pruning not required, although old shoots should be removed periodically to rejuvenate. Euonymus fortunei, like Hedera helix, has a highly variable flowering adult form which can be very different from its non-flowering juvenile form. Pruning out old shoots will maintain the more desirable juvenile characteristics.

Key Pests


  • Crown gall


  • Scale

Euonymus fortunei is susceptible to numerous other diseases and insect pests which are less common.

Common Cultural Problems

  • Declines in heavy, wet soils.
  • Some cultivars are sensitive to low-temperature injury (windburn) in zone 4.

Selected Varieties and Cultivars

var. coloratus – A vigorous groundcover form with deep glossy green summer foliage turning plum-purple in winter. This variety is highly variable, with many different clones offered in the trade. Best effect is achieved if grown on drier, starved soils. One of the fastest growing varieties.

‘Emerald Beauty’ – Grows to 6′ in height and 8-10′ in spread. Dark green foliage all year.

‘Emerald Delight’ – Has the largest leaves of any in Emerald series. Rich foliage color; young leaves light green edged with yellow, becoming intense green with creamy borders. A vigorous spreading plant.

‘Emerald Gaiety’ – Small, erect form with dense branching. Leaves are rounded, deep green with an irregular white margin; the margin becomes pinkish in winter.

‘Emerald ‘n Gold’ – Low growing, 18 to 24″ high, with a tight branching habit. Foliage a dark glossy green with yellow margins. Leaves turn pink-red in winter.

‘Gold Spot’ – Dark green leaves with bright gold centers. More upright in habit than most.

‘Green Lane’ – Upright growing with green foliage all year. Matures to 4′ by 6′. Less prone to winter windburn than other green-leaved forms.

‘Kewensis’ – A low mat, only several inches high, but an excellent climbing form. Leaves slender, small and dainty, almost round. A very prostrate form with slender, spreading branches, forming a small hummock. Good for the rock garden.

‘Silver Queen’ – Leaves creamy yellow in spring, becoming green with a creamy white margin through summer. Smaller than average.

‘Variegatus’ – A small-leaved variety with grey-green foliage, margined white, tinged pink in cold weather. Best as a climbing form or groundcover.

There are at least 30 other named cultivars and a great deal of confusion in identification. Euonymus fortunei is prone to development of branch mutations with varying types of foliage variegation. Thus the same cultivar, propagated by different growers, may not always look the same.

Revised: 09/2011

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The backbone of every British garden, no matter its size, shape or aspect; is the evergreen shrub. They provide us with year-round colour and allow our favourite spring and summer flowers to stand out in contrast and shine. They can thrive in those difficult shaded borders and one of the best attributes of evergreen shrubs is that they often require very little maintenance, allowing us to focus on all those other garden jobs on our to-do lists.

We have put together six of our favourite Evergreen Shrubs in a special collection, all of which are low-maintenance, will work well in gardens of any size and are on offer in the DC Thomson Shop. Keep reading to find out which shrubs made the cut!

1 Skimmia Japonica Rubella: This aromatic dwarf shrub is hardy and versatile. Skimmia Japonica Rubella thrives in sunny and partially shaded locations. Its compact habit makes it manageable and well suited for use in borders, patio pots or containers. The red buds are produced all-year-round and will offer much needed colour during winter and the early spring. The leaves are broad and a rich, dark green colour giving this shrub quite a solid, chunky look for its small size. White flowers appear from April to May on this plant which reaches a height of around 80cm. You can prune lightly in spring if desired.

2 Euonymus Fortunei Emerald Gaiety: Our favourite shrub, the Euonymus Emerald Gaiety has a bushy habit with gorgeous glossy green leaves which feature silver-white margins and veining. During winter a subtle pink coloured tinge appears. Growing to 60cm its smaller in height than the Skimmia Japonica Rubella and has smaller, more dainty foliage. This shrub looks particularly effective in patio pots and will also look good in your borders, especially in early spring amongst emerging Crocuses and Tulips. The Emerald Gaiety will do well in sunny and in partially shaded locations.

3 Euonymus Blonde Beauty: This Euonymus has bright creamy-yellow and dark green markings on its glossy leaves. Growing to the same compact 60cm in height as the Emerald Gaiety, Blonde Beauty is ideal as ground cover and will give life to rockeries and borders alike and will help suppress the weeds. The Blonde Beauty flourishes in well drained, fertile soil types and thrives in shaded locations as well as sunny ones. Very little pruning is required with Blonde Beauty but you can remove any unwanted or malformed shoots in spring if desired.

4 Choisya Ternata Sundance: Also known as Mexican Orange Blossom, this glossy golden green shrub holds the RHS Award Of Garden Merit in recognition of its reliable performance, brilliant colour and form and for its resistance to pests and diseases. In May, fragrant white flowers sprinkle across its glossy foliage. Choisya Ternate Sundance needs very little pruning once established and will thrive in west facing aspects and partially shaded locations. This evergreen shrub grows to a height and spread of around 150cm which makes it an excellent choice for the middle or back of your borders.

5 Ceonothus Thyrsiflorus Var Repens: Another RHS Award Of Garden Merit winner, this colourful evergreen shrub really is something special with its lilac coloured panicles which bloom in spring through to early summer. The Californian Lilac, as it’s also known, has a spreading and cascading habit making it ideal for ground cover or in elevated patio pots and containers where the dark green spindle-like foliage can be appreciated all-year-round. For best results we recommend planting in sheltered locations, either sunny or partially shaded.

6 Leucothoe Scarletta: This is one for lovers of red foliage, Leucothoe Scarletta has bright red leaves which become deeper and darker as the year goes on and will produce white flowers during spring. The Leucothoe Scarletta is superb for suppressing weeds and giving autumnal colour to the garden. A very low-maintenance shrub that grows 45-60cm in height, forming a dome-like shape. If you’re searching for a shrub that will thrive in full shade, then Leucothoe Scarletta is a great option and well worth looking into as they perform best in shaded locations. For best results plant in hummus rich, neutral to acidic soil.

Each of these Evergreen shrubs are hardy and versatile enough to be used in patio pots, containers or in your borders.

Happy Gardening!

We’ve picked out some other great green offers from our shop just for you.

Karlie Simmonds

Karlie has worked in Digital Media for over 10 years, she is passionate about health and wellbeing and lives in Edinburgh with her partner, children, and Pug, Poppy.

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