Will I regret planting Euonymus fortunei? #462120 - Ask Extension


Will I regret planting Euonymus fortunei? #462120

Asked June 13, 2018, 5:18 PM EDT

A number of UMN publications recommend Euonymus fortunei (wintercreeper) as a ground cover. I recently picked up a flat of starters at Bachman's (I can't remember the cultivar, but I did raise my eyebrows when I noticed it was rated zone 5) to provide some coverage on a shady slope (clay soil). I did some googling, and just about every other state has this species listed as invasive, and there's plenty of complaints about not being able to get rid of it. The site I have it planted on it against the house in almost complete shade (and sloped). There are no other plants nearby for it to bother, and I don't mind pruning a couple times a year to keep it off of the siding. I live in Roseville, zone 4b, about 2 miles (as the crow flies) northeast of the St. Paul campus. If it does manage to survive in the site, am I guaranteed to be setting my future self up for a huge problem? Do I need to worry about birds spreading the seeds to nearby wild areas?

Ramsey County Minnesota

Expert Response

Euonymus fortunei is a vigorous vine that invades forest openings and margins. It grows across the ground, displacing herbaceous plants and seedlings and climbs trees high into the tree canopy by clinging to the bark. Forest openings, caused by wind, insects or fire are especially vulnerable to invasion. Euonymus fortunei has been reported to be invasive in natural areas in most of the states in the eastern half of the U.S. It can tolerate a broad range of environmental conditions ranging from full sun to deep shade, and acidic to basic and low nutrient soils, but it does not grow well in heavy wet soils.  We are slightly out of it's natural range, however, wit global warming and a protected location, it will in all probability, spread.
Dennis Mielke Replied June 14, 2018, 9:05 AM EDT

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