How and when to prune Euonymus shrub


Euonymus is a genus of plants comprising a variety of shrubs, among them there are deciduous and evergreen, in addition to small trees. It is currently distributed by Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and Madagascar. With white flowers and fruit like berries, this shrub is commonly used for garden decoration. It has the peculiarity that all parts of it are poisonous to humans if ingested. In this article we will analyze in a general way everything that concerns the pruning of Euonymus bush, how to do it, at what season and with what tools.


Note: Please note that the advice given here is general, this blog is consulted from many countries in the world, with totally different characteristics, what not all tips will be adapted in the same way in all cases. Once you finish reading the article it will be necessary to analyze all the information and apply what you have learned in the best way. If you have any questions, remember that you can contact us to make your inquiries.

1. How to care Euonymus bush


Just as pruning is one of the many cares that must be carried out in a Euonymus, and since I want you to know how to give the best conditions to your bush, in this section we will see in a general way the most important cares that you should take into account.

  • Location: It is important that you are outside, in full sun. It can also be in semi-shade as long as it receives more hours of light than shade.
  • Soil: if it is outside your garden it adapts to any soil, it is enough that it has good drainage. If you have it in a pot, you can mix the soil with 30% perlite.
  • Temperature: in general it can withstand the cold very well, up to -18 ° C.
Euonymus fortunei
Euonymus fortunei
  • Irrigation: Depending on the season you can water it three or four times a week in warm seasons, while the rest of the year will be enough with one or two weekly irrigations.
  • Fertilization: in times of greater development, that is, spring-summer, a monthly fertilization with some organic fertilizer (for example guano) is advisable.
  • Multiplication: the two most common ways to multiply this shrub is by seed or cutting. The first should be done during the fall, while the second in spring.
  • Diseases: It is quite prone to contracting fungi, especially when it is located under shade or with excessive irrigation. To avoid it, it should not be exceeded with irrigation and try to locate it in areas with several hours of sunshine. You can also fight it with funjicides.
  • Pests: the two most common pests are mealybugs and aphids, periodically check these pests to prevent their spread.
  • Pruning: how could it be otherwise we close the list of care of the Euonymus with the pruning of the same, in the next sections we will develop this point with more depth.

2. Tools needed for pruning Euonymus shrub


There are several tools that you will need to perform your pruning or trimming of a Euonymus shrub. Each of them is appropriate for different cases depending on age, time of year, type of pruning, etc.

  • Hand Pruning Shears: Stems up to half inch in diameter can be pruned with hand shears.
  • Lopping Shears: It is suitable to use on stems between half inch and 2 inches in diameter.
  • Hedge Shears: Manual and power shears are available for trimming hedges. Manual shears have long, flat blades with relatively short handles and are good for small jobs. Electric shears are a good choice for larger hedges.
  • Saws: A number of pruning saws are available. These saws come with either curved or straight blades and of variable lengths and points. Curved blades that cut on the draw stroke are easy to use.

Keep in mind that you must disinfect all the tools before cut back your Euonymus shrub. This will help prevent disease transmission, you will have to do it before you start pruning and every time you change plants.

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2.1 Needed care of pruning tools

If you want to extend the useful life of your pruning tools there are some basic care.

  • Use the right tool for a job and avoid twisting or straining it.
  • Clean and oil tools regularly by wiping an oily cloth on blades and other surfaces.
  • Keep cutting edges sharp by regularly using an oilstone.
  • Wooden handles should be varnished or regularly treated with linseed oil to keep them from cracking or splintering.

Carry out the previous care on a regular basis and you will be saving good money on tools. 🙂

3. Pruning Euonymus shrub


As there are many varieties of euonymus, including deciduous and evergreen shrubs, it becomes difficult to adequately cover each variety. Therefore, we will begin by analyzing the aspects of pruning in a general way and then we will analyze the pruning of the four most popular varideades.

  • Cleaning pruning
  • Pruning to shape
  • Hard pruning

We will analyze each of the previous prunings separately.

3.1 Cleaning pruning

Like any plant, the Euonymus, needs cleaning pruning, this will help keep the bush healthier. Step to enumerate which are the branches that must be eliminated when cleaning the pruning.

  • Branches that are dead, dry, broken or diseased.
  • Dry stumps (pieces of branches that have no shoots and are dead).
  • Foot rebrotes that are weak or poorly located and we are not interested in their development.
  • Branches crossed, poorly oriented or very tangled.
  • Branches that protrude a lot from the bush because of its excess vigor.

It is advisable not to miss many years to perform this pruning. Otherwise entanglement will appear, the aesthetics of the plant will not be good, and the pruning at the time of doing it will be too strong.

On the other hand, be very careful when disposing of this pruning waste, especially if it is sick or attacked by a pest. Never leave this waste near other plants, since it will be spreading the disease or pest throughout your garden.

3.2 Pruning to shape

In general, Euonymus shrubs naturally develop a beautiful form, but often due to carelessness or by nature itself, they begin to take an elongated and unattractive form. To solve this, they can perform a pruning to form it.

 Euonymus alatus - Pruning shape
Euonymus alatus

If it is the first of these prunings that will give it, it is advisable to start densifying the foliage, something that is achieved by blunt all its branches. This will force the bush to release new shoots, if it does a couple of times, it achieves a good foliage density.

In case you have already formed the bush with pruning on other occasions, it is always good to recover it. Just look for the cuts of the previous pruning and cut the branches to that level, thus achieving the previous shape.

3.3 Hard pruning

In general, the Euonymus needs a hard pruning when it begins to see that its foliage is more scarce and not covering the spaces it covered in previous seasons. Its branches are too woody and its shoots grow with less force.

If that is the case with your Euonymus, do not be afraid to perform hard pruning. I waited until all the frosts of the year have passed and then cut all the branches about 20 cm from the ground (this may vary depending on the variety of Euonymus).

During the spring you will see how the bush begins to release new and strong shoots from its base. They will be in charge of forming their structure in the following seasons.

This hard pruning may also be necessary when the bush has been attacked by a pest that we can no longer control.

4. Euonymus pruning according to its variety


Here we will briefly analyze the particularities found in the pruning of four of the most popular varieties of Euonymus. They are; Golden Euonymus, Euonymus alatus, Euonymus japonicus and Euonymus fortunei.

3.1 Pruning golden euonymus

Evergreen shrub with large, bright, oval-shaped leaves that are dark forest green and broadly edged in bright golden yellow. Fast growing: good to use as a colorful hedge or as a bright accent plant.

The golden euonymus should be pruned in spring, just after flowering. This is the right time for both maintenance pruning, or pruning to shape. It is also a good time if you need to perform hard pruning. Never do an early pruning in winter, since you will be losing all or much of the floral production.

3.2 Pruning Euonymus alatus

This is a deciduous shrub whose size can reach up to three meters high. Its completely smooth and gray-colored bark with its young green branches give a touch of beauty to any garden.

This shrub due to its deciduous characteristics can be renewed with hard prunings quite regularly. They must be carried out at the end of spring. You can also perform maintenance prunings, lighter, in the last days of winter.

3.3 How to prune Euonymus japonicus

It is an evergreen shrub that can reach 3 or 4 meters high. Its leaves are bright green with yellow or white stripes. They produce red fruits that give Euonymus japonicus a distinctive touch. In general, they are widely used to grow in large pots or planted in isolation in the garden.

As I mentioned with the pruning of the golden Euonymus in this case, you should also wait to perform the pruning once the flowering is finished. This for light and hard pruning.

3.4 How to prune Euonymus fortunei

Finally, Euonymus fortunei is an evergreen shrub that stretches across the ground when it adopts a creeping habit or can also climb ivy-shaped walls through aerial roots. In general it has a fairly low size (1 meter high) with beautiful green leaves with cream-colored edges.

It admits to prune perfectly and lends itself to give them varied forms. The right time to prune is between April or May. To know which branch to cut and which not to cut, we suggest that you take a look at the color of the foliage every year or so to identify any which has lost its variegated markings. Prune the affected foliage away to retain the variegated areas.

4. When to prune Euonymus


There are many factors that affect the appropriate moment in which the pruning of the Euonymus should be carried out, among the most important is the variety, the type of pruning and the climate.

If you have been careful to read the previous sections, we have made it clear for each case what is the best time to prune.

Here I want to emphasize that in those varieties that bloom in wood of the previous year they should always be pruned once the flowering ends. Otherwise, and as we have clarified above, I would be losing the flowering.

5. How to prune Euonymus bush video


Finally, and as usual in this blog we leave a video (plantamnesty channel), in this case we will see tips on pruning Euonymus alata. Surely you will know how to take advantage. 😉

You may also be interested in knowing about pruning:

Here we end with this post on how and when to prune your Euonymus, I hope that everything seen so far has been very clear, otherwise or do not hesitate to contact us. 😉

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