Burning Bush

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This might just be one of the most controversial shrubs in existence. The USDA labels it as an invasive species, but regardless of this fact many people simply love having the Burning Bush in their homes because of the lovely colour it gives during fall.

The Burning Bush is scientifically known as Euonymous alata compactus and sometimes known by the name �winged euonymus�. It can grow up to be ten feet in height. Some varieties can even reach twenty feet. They grow at a medium speed and spread very easily from their roots. They are found growing best in areas with well drained soil with sun or partial shade.


This deciduous shrub has ridged stems and grows with a vase-like upright form. The leaves, which fall in the winter and re-emerge in the springtime, are small, pointed and oval-shaped. The distinctive aspect of this shrub is definitely the fiery reddish-pink foliage colour that its leaves exhibits in autumn. This bright colour will stick around for many, many weeks.

The branches of the Burning Bush tend to spread out more once the plant reaches maturity, which is when it has reached a height of around ten or fifteen feet. When ready to flower, you will see insignificant yellow flowers appearing, which then form into lovely red berries. The shrub also gives tiny, red-orange seeds in the fall.


This is a very adaptable plant, and is therefore used for several landscape purposes such as hedges, shrubbery borders, foundation planting, accent plantings and screening.

They make excellent specimens when used singly in autumn. But to see their most spectacular colour effect, you really need them in mass plantings. Before their invasive nature came to be known, many states in eastern United States used mass plantings to make roadsides more attractive.


If you want to plant them, make sure it is in a location that receives full sum, or some partial shade to get their best foliage colour. Any soil is fine as long as you make sure it is well drained.

If you want to take not of the warning about how invasive this shrub is, then you can consider using some viburnum or planting the native strawberry bush alongside it to control it. Make sure you don�t plant this shrub near a natural area or near woodland.

Care Tips

Pruning isn�t necessary with these plants. If you think they would look better as well maintained hedges, then you can go ahead and prune them. Or you can let it have free reign to grow into its natural branching pattern. Don�t cut away thinning branches, as when the plant is still young these are necessary and not a sign of bad health.

It is a hardy shrub and very little care is needed. It is not bothered by pests or other insects and it can survive and grow very well on little water, making it a natural favourite of many homeowners. They can grow in full sun or shady areas, but those in the shade will never quite reach their full colour potential. They will give you a pink colour in the fall rather than the brilliant scarlet.

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Author: Tammy Sons

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