Pruning Euonymus

Pruning plants can be a challenge. You know you need to cut certain plants back, but knowing when and how isn’t always easy. Euonymus is a medium-sized perennial shrub that puts on a stunning foliage display. This is a fast-growing plant that benefits from routine trimming. Plants allowed to grow naturally may look scraggly and unkempt. Pruning Euonymus will maintain a polished appearance and ensure your yard looks tidy. 

Euonymus is native to Asia and is considered invasive in some areas. This plant is grown for its lovely foliage that can be shades of green and cream, and may turn fiery red and orange in the fall. This plant also blooms during the spring and has berries during the summer. Some gardeners remove the flowers or the berries to prevent the plant from self-seeding. Trimming stems back is a way to keep this plant in check.


When to Prune Euonymus

When to prune Euonymus depends on your goal. To clean up the appearance and shape the plant, prune in the early spring. Rejuvenate an overgrown Euonymus plant by cutting back at least one-third of the growth. Some varieties of Euonymus make an excellent groundcover if they are allowed to spread out, but with a trim, these plants can maintain a neat, rounded, shrub-like look.

Offshoots or suckers can be removed at any time of the year as soon as they appear. Removing these allows the plant to direct all of its energy into the main plant, promoting a fuller appearance. If your objective is to prevent this plant from spreading, then you can trim back the flowers when they fade in the later spring or early summer. Another option is to handpick the berries and dispose of them so new plants do not emerge.


Why Prune Euonymus

Pruning Euonymus shrubs keeps the plant at a manageable size and ensures it does not overwhelm a space. Cutting back the limbs encourages healthier branching, which creates a more full and dense growth habit. This plant is considered invasive in some areas, so cutting it back can keep it under control and ensure it does not become unwieldy.


How to Prune Euonymus

Step 1 - Observe the Euonymus plant

Dead or damaged branches, as well as suckers or offshoots, can be removed at any time

Step 2 - Shape the plant in the spring

Prune any lopsided branches that extend beyond the general sphere of the shrub

Step 3 - Remove spent flowers or berries

Removing the flowers as they start to fade or the berries prevents the plant from spreading

Euonymus Pruning Tips

  • Cut back long, weak branches in the spring to keep the plant looking dense and tidy
  • Overgrown Euonymus plants can be cut back by one-third to rejuvenate new growth
  • Remove offshoots to maintain one sizeable healthy plant
  • Removing berries means you do not get to enjoy their ornamental value but it will prevent the plant from self-seeding

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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-14-2022