Euonymus europaeus, commonly called European spindletree, is a deciduous shrub or small tree that is native from Europe to western Asia. This is a shrub or a small tree with an irregular crown. Best ornamental features are its showy fall fruit and sometimes superb fall leaf color. It grows, often rapidly, to 12-20' (less frequently to 30') tall. Although slender in youth, it typically matures to a rounded form. Small, yellowish-green flowers (1/2" across) bloom in 3-5 flowered cymes from late April to June. Flowers are followed by fruits which are extremely showy. Pinkish-red dehiscent capsules split open in fall to reveal tiny seeds, each of which is encased in a fleshy orange aril. Seeds are attractive to birds. Ovate to oblong-lanceolate, crenate-serrate, glabrous, dull dark green leaves (to 3" long) turn variable shades of red to orange to purple in fall. Spindletree wood was once used to make spindles.
Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates close to full shade, but usually at the expense of diminished fall color quality. This is an adaptable shrub that tolerates a wide range of soils except for wet, poorly-drained ones. Prefers alkaline soils. Plants appreciate consistent and even moisture, particularly when grown in full sun locations. Zones 4-7
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
1. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 2-3 months.
2. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite.
3. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
4. Water the container.
5. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
6. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.