Wintercreeper, Euonymus Fortunei, Is Highly Variable as A Ground Cover or Beautiful Landscape

Wintercreeper is a perennial plant and a species of flowering plant from the family of Celastraceae. Its scientific name Euonymus fortunei was in honor of the Scottish botanist and explorer Robert Fortune. It is native to East Asia, particularly in China, Korea, and the Philippines, and is often found in woods and thickets in the low mountains of Japan. Botanists in the early 1900s imported the Wintercreeper for this plant to serve as a decorative groundcover. It is a popular plant with tendencies to climb like a vine on trees and buildings.

This plant is highly variable. It can also be shrubby and climbs by aerial rootlets until it reaches sixty-six feet as a juvenile plant if given support. It eventually stops creeping when it reaches maturity. It will spread out as a ground cover as a woody vine and make a beautiful landscape by trimming the plant when it matures. But keep in mind that some vining cultivars and shrubs are both invasive. It has glossy evergreen leaves but many different leaf sizes, growth forms, and foliage colors. The leaves become more prominent when they mature and bear flowers, followed by attractive and durable light pink to orange-red berries, which develop in June or July.

The juvenile form of this plant has small, scallop-edged, and dark green leaves with very light veins. This plant's distinctive green and gold varieties provide a classic but colorful look in the garden. The bark is light-brown and rough. This plant, however, is frequently damaged by deer but is salt tolerant.

Wintercreeper, Euonymus Fortunei is Easy and Simple To Grow

Many people find planting, caring, and pruning for Wintercreeper easy. Plant it in full sun or moderate shade in ordinary soil; the best time to do this is spring. Space the plants from eighteen to twenty-four inches apart. Although the plant is not particular about soil, it will do best in moist, acidic loam. When still young, water the plant when the top three inches of soil becomes dry only. It can tolerate dry conditions and does not require much attention when it reaches maturity.

If you live in a cold place, you do desiccation by watering the plant during fall before the ground starts freezing. Prune or trim this plant to control growth or if it becomes unruly or invasive. Even with a single cutting, the plant quickly grows roots and can start a colony. It invades natural openings and relatively undisturbed forests or in fencerows, railroads, and roadsides. Wintercreeper also helps in filling in other garden areas once it matures.

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This plant grows in USDA hardiness zones 5-8. While native to China, it was introduced to and currently thrives in the northwestern, northeastern, and mid-western United States and Canada. The largest plants are considered medium, measuring between 12" and 24", while the smaller plants measure between 6" and 12". They reach their mature height quickly, as their growth rate is classified as fast. It is resilient and will survive in full, partial, or shade. As an evergreen, it will provide rich foliage throughout each season.

The best soil selections should be well-drained and moist for the healthiest plant. However, too moist soil may kill the plant if left unattended for an extended period. The oval-shaped, simple, and opposite evergreen leaves typically do not exceed 1" long and are in various shades of glossy green. Red to pink capsules contain the plant's seeds, protected by an orange-tinted coating. In landscaping, the plant may create mixed borders, surround or line sidewalks and patios, create massing, or even plant in pots.

The ten different types of Wintercreeper are the Big-leaved Wintercreeper, Baby Wintercreeper, Canadale Gold Wintercreeper, Emerald 'n' Gold Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper, Glossy Wintercreeper, Gold Prince Wintercreeper, Moon-shadow Little Leaved Wintercreeper, Purple Leaved Wintercreeper, and the Sarcoxie Wintercreeper. Each exhibits different variations of the Wintercreeper that make it unique, whether in color, leaf shape, or size. Some are low-lying ground covers, some are shrubs, and some are vines. Depending on the specific type, the Wintercreeper may be susceptible to insect problems, like aphid infestations or the Euonymus scale, so you should take appropriate preventative measures to increase its longevity. Other common issues are leaf spots, mildew, and anthracnose.

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