If you're looking for a tough shrub to plant this fall that provides beauty, versatility, and low maintenance, consider the variegated beauty briar (Eleutherococcus sieboldianus 'variegatus'). This fast-growing, deciduous shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and wide at maturity. It has attractive green and white, fan-shaped leaves, and white flowers in spring. The calling card of the beauty briar, though, is its toughness. Beauty briar will grow in heavy shade or full sun; it tolerates poor soil, air pollution, and heavy pruning; and it has few pest and disease problems.
Plus, if you're trying to create a barrier hedge to keep people and animals out of a garden, beauty briar sports small, sharp thorns on its branches. Beauty briar is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8.
For more information on this trouble-free hedge plant, go to: Missouri Botanical Garden.
Article published on October 11, 2005.