The Q&A Archives: Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo-marginatus'

Question: Hi there, I planted two of these this summer hoping to cover the side of concrete steps and a retaining wall. They look healthy but they haven't grown much larger than they were in the pots. How long will they take to grow to full size, is there anything that I may have done wrong, and is there anything which I can do to speed their growth and protect them for the coming winter?

Answer: This shrub is considered a moderate grower, so in euonymus terms that would be maybe six inches a year or so. (There is a somewhat similar looking but much faster grower called Euonymus japonicus 'Aureovariegatus') The actual performance depends on where they are planted and the weather each year. The first year most shrubs will devote most of their energy to rooting and becoming established. The second and subsequent years they grow at a more natural rate. This past summer and fall were so dry that could have slowed them down a bit, too, especially if they were planted during the summer rather than in the early spring. Keep them mulched with several inches of organic mulch. In the spring top dress with a good quality compost and apply a general purpose slow release granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 per the label instructions. These shrubs are low maintenance plants and quite drought tolerant once established, but make sure the soil stays evenly moist (like a damp sponge, not saturated or sopping wet) and see if that helps. Finally, if you can provide some winter wind protection that would also help them come through the winter in better shape. The slow growth is actually a benefit later on as it means little to no pruning once they are grown. Good luck with your shrubs!

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