Wintercreeper Euonymus (Eyonymus fortunei) is a shrub, groundcover, and a trailing plant that will grow in any soil. Wintercreeper is sold every year as a groundcover in big box stores. Why? because it is a high profit plant that promises beginner gardeners and homeowners a fast growing groundcover that will eliminate barren ugly spots under trees and on hillsides. The promise of no weeding and no maintenance…but guess what? there is no such as no maintenance gardening. There is low maintenance but lawns and gardens need some sort of maintenance to keep the soil healthy, weeds down, and plants living.
If you plant a non native groundcover, bush, or flower, you must control it. From my experience Wintercreeper Euonymus (here in zone 7) can be controlled but it does take a monthly check to make sure it stays within its designated area. In 6 months the vine you see in the picture grew over 12′ up the Oak tree. The bush part of the plant is over 5′ tall and it has spread almost 10′ wide in about 5 years. Plus I have to add that took cuttings and started them on the hillside by the road to cover the slope. This plant will start to root itself simply by touching the soil.
I do not recommend planting any invasive plant. I admit I planted Wintercreeper Euonymus and I keep it contained on the property line between my neighbor and I. In the pictures you will see that it takes on 3 characteristics- it is a groundcover, shrub, and a trailing plant! Wintercreeper Euonymus is one of those plants that left to grow unchecked will take over an area and destroy any other plant in its way. I have an area in the woods where the Wintercreeper has grown but it kept in check by the deer who eat it every fall and winter.
Wintercreeper grows in zones 4-9 and can bloom in April (the blooms are small and insignificant). Last October 2015 my Wintercreeper had the bright red seeds in late fall which attract the birds. In the 5 or so years that this plant has been growing I have never had seeds. So now I will watch for blooms next month (April) and cut them off so they do not produce seeds in the fall. This is one way to help control an invasive plant.
Collecting or preventing the spread of seeds by the birds to other areas in your yard or neighborhood is one way you help control the invasive plant. I am not going to say do not plant it if you like it but you need to be informed of the impact of planting invasive plants in your yard. Once established Wintercreeper will become quite aggressive and kill any other plant in its path. You will have to prune this plant to keep it contained AND you will need to dispose of the branches you cut off in a garbage bag and not in your compost or other area where you dispose of yard waste! This plant will root in dirt easily and quickly so please do not throw the stems or seeds in any wooded or wildlife area.
Being responsible in our yards and gardens means we have to be vigilant about what we plant. If you are going to plant it, then control it or it will control you. I know from personal experience how much time it takes to remove and eradicate invasive plants. I have been paid to help other homeowners and the same statement comes up “I did not know it would take over”.
Thank you for stopping by and plant what you love but know what you plant! If you ever have a question, feel free to contact me.
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2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique