Burning Bush Propagation and Care

Burning Bush-Summer Color

There are a number of different varieties of Burning Bush, but for the most part they fall into two distinct categories. The older variety (euonymus alata) is often called "Winged Euonymus" or "Winged Burning Bush". This variety can grow to a height of 12 to 15 feet, and the bark is very unique with it's winged edges.


The more common variety (euonymus alata compacta) only reaches a height of 8 to 10 feet, and the wings on the bark are still quite obvious, but not nearly as pronounced as the winged variety.

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Although it's not very popular, and now considered invasive in some states, I happen to like the "Winged Burning Bush because the branches are very interesting during the winter.

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Winged Burning Bush

Look at the above photo, notice how pronounced the wings on the bark are? Kinda cool I think!

Burning Bush is extremely hardy down into zone 3. It's a great landscape plant that will tolerate full sun, and also does well in partial shade. For the most part this plant is as tough as nails. In all the years I used them landscaping, I don't know that I ever had to replace one.

However, they are also quite tasty to critters both big and small. Rabbits love them, and will completely destroy them by chewing all the bark off as high as they can reach. Deer will also eat them down to almost nothing.

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Burning Bush are also a favorite of the microscopic pest, the spider mite. Spider mites are little tiny insects that are almost invisible to the naked eye, but once they get on a plant they multiply like crazy. In no time just a few can become 50,000 or more. Spider mites feed off the plant by sucking the nutrients from the leaves, and they can completely defoliate a plant in just a matter of weeks.

Fortunately, the damage usually isn't permanent, and the spider mites can be controlled with soap and water, or chemical sprays.

To check for spider mites place a sheet of white paper under a branch, the strike the branch with a pencil or a similar object. Examine the paper very carefully, looking for what appear to be specs of dirt that are crawling around on the paper. Those are spider mites.

Burning Bush have an attractive green color all summer long, then in the late summer or fall they turn brilliant red before dropping their leaves. The deep red fall color makes them one of the most popular plants in the business.

Burning Bush

Burning Bush are very easy to propagate as softwood cuttings using Intermittent Mist. It takes them about six weeks to root under mist, but once they do they develop a mass of fibrous roots for such a little cutting.

If you don't have a mist system you can use other methods for softwood cuttings, or you can try some of the hardwood cutting methods for deciduous plants.

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