Every Blooming Thing: Eunonymus provide a profusion of form and color

The genus Eunonymous is a colorful addition to a gardener’s landscaping canvass, says Red Bluff Garden Club member John J. Garaventa.


My garden is divided into sections with various microclimates and soil mediums. While I am partial to succulents and xeriscape gardening, I do have an assortment of perennials that contribute to a general Mediterranean look. The genus Eunonymous, is a colorful addition to a gardener’s canvass. Over 175 species of Eunonymous provide a wide range of form, color and versatility. Eunonymous come in the shape of trees, shrubs and vines. They can be used for borders, screening and wall coverings, and, stand alone foundational plants. They are also excellent ground covers as they prevent soil erosion and suffocate weeds. Eunonymous range in height from 3 feet to 20 feet and will sprawl up to 15 feet wide. They are considered to have a moderate growth rate of 12 to 24 inches per year. While they generally like well draining, moist soil, once established they are drought tolerant.

I recently added Eunonymous fortunei ,‘Emerald Gaiety’ Wintercreeper, to my raised rock mound currently containing a white Natchez Crepe Myrtle. I love the variegated green and cream white foliage and the dramatic pinkish hue that this Eunonymous casts in winter. It should propitiously maintain this coloration through Valentines Day. Barely noticeable greenish white flowers will bud in early summer. Since this plant will grow 3 to 5 feet tall, and just as wide, I will rely on my pruning skills to achieve a much lesser height. I hope to create an undulating mound of “Emerald Gaiety” which will hopefully represent a wave of motion.

This plant will be successful in a medium of good draining soil. I have clay soil that has, in no small measure, rocks.    For planting I create a mixture of native soil (less any substantial rocks) and bagged top soil, with slight portions of potting soil, sand and volcanic aggregate (Dry Stall). I believe that this soil combination will retain good drainage quality and still allow for a moist medium. These plants will require regular watering, i.e., weekly or more, especially during the heat of our summers. Once established after three years, the Emerald Gaiety should be drought tolerant.

My newly planted Emerald Gaiety is in a nearly full, direct sun area which will be oftentimes seasonally shaded by a white crepe myrtle canopy. Given sufficient sunlight and heat for continued steady moderate growth, this plant should survive and flourish. It can be planted in USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) plant hardiness zones 5 – 9. Living in Red Bluff, even though I have zone 9 plant hardiness, I am now extremely cognizant of providing some form of shade to borderline zone plantings.

You needn’t fertilize Emerald Gaiety, however, a 5-5-5 mixture in the fall would be welcomed. Eunonymous are susceptible to insects such as aphids, mealybugs and white flies. Spraying with Neem oil should eradicate these pests. You may also experience mildew which may be treated with a fungicide. Deer should pass over these plants and leave them undisturbed.

The stems of the creeping and crawling varieties will root when they are in contact with the earth. If you are so inclined you can propagate these Eunonymous by cutting and transplanting rooted stems. You can also propagate non-rooted stems by cutting 6- 8 inch lengths and using powdered rooting hormone. In a few weeks you will have produced new plants for gifts to fellow gardeners or dispersal throughout your garden.

Don’t despair if Emerald Gaeity doesn’t appeal to your tastes. There are other Eunonymous varieties. I have Golden Eunonymous which grows upright to 6 feet and has green and gold variegated foliage. I also have a Green Spire Eunonymous; this is a fast growing, shade loving plant that is 6 – 8 feet tall and 1 – 2 feet wide and has glossy green foliage. One of the plants on my next wish list is the Burning Bush Eunonymous which has green foliage except in the fall when its leaves explode in a bright red display of color; it is also adorned with reddish purple berries.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero

The next Red Bluff Garden Club meeting will be on Feb. 25 at the First United Methodist Church Social Hall, 535 David Ave., Red Bluff, with refreshments served at 12:30 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 1 p.m. Guests are always welcome. See you there!

The Red Bluff Garden Club is affiliated with the Cascade District Garden Club; California Garden Clubs, Inc; Pacific Region Garden Clubs and Natural Garden Clubs Inc. 

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