Can you tell me what this is?

by Drew
(St Peters, MO, USA)

my company's corporate offices have these bushes as part of their landscaping, and I'd like some, too, just don't know what it's called... the guys spreading mulch said it was a burning bush, but my wife thinks it's nandina... the leaves turn a nice red color in the fall, and they don't grow fast or big, which is why we don't think it's a burning bush...

Hi Drew, the landscaping guys are right; it is a type of burning bush, but this one is Euonymus alata 'Compactus' which is almost identical in every way to the regular species, except for it's size.

It generally only reaches about 4-6' high and wide, and is amenable to pruning to keep it even smaller as a hedge.

You'll be able to tell for sure if you look on the stem; 'alata' means 'winged'; the corky protuberences on the stem are what this is referring to.

They do have the absolute best fall color; a rich reddish pink, and then after the leaves fall off, they show these incredible twigs for the winter. Seeing burning bush with a light sprinkling of snow, or hoar frost is enough to give you goosebumps!

This is a plant for all seasons; there are no bad traits that I know of; it's slow growing, beautiful, and hardy, fairly drought resistant and non-invasive. It doesn't shed seeds or make a mess (except when the leaves fall off) and it's got multi season interest; all in all, it's been one of my favorite shrubs for a long time.

Hope this helps,

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Jun 11, 2013
by: Drew

wow, that was a fast response. thanks!

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