EUNYMUS – spindle

A family of deciduous and evergreen trees, shrubs and ground-cover plants with insignificant flowers but very showy autumn fruits and foliage. Some forms make good hedges and all are easy to grow.

Suitable site and soil. Grow in ordinary garden soil, deciduous varieties in full sun, evergreens in partial or full shade and a sheltered position.

Cultivation and care. Plant deciduous species between autumn and spring and evergreens in autumn or spring. Prune hedges or shrubs in spring to desired shape. Thin out shoots of deciduous species in late winter. :

Propagation. Take heel cuttings in late summer, over-winter in an equal mix of peat and sand in a cold frame. Plant out the following spring.

Recommended varieties. E. fortunei is a hardy evergreen ground-cover plant. It has some excellent forms, including ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ (bright golden variegated leaves, bronze-pink in winter), and ‘Coloratus’ (purple leaves in winter). E. europaeus is the common spindle tree with brilliant deciduous autumn foliage and rosy-red fruits (height up to 3.6m – 12ft). E. japonicus is an evergreen, excellent for hedging and tolerant of both pollution and sea spray. It has glossy, dark green leaves and grows up to 3m – 10ft. Garden forms include ‘Aureopictus’ or ‘Aureus’ (green leaves, golden centres) and ‘Macrophyllus Albus’ (grey-green with white edges).

Pests and diseases. Aphids and scale insects.


Use one of the brightly variegated forms of E. fortunei to cover a shady wall and its surrounding ground with cheerful colour in winter. This shrub grows well against a high wall.

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