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Spindle, a shrub with very ornamental leaves and seeds

Spindle bush

Spindle hosts a unique and very ornamental leafage.

Short list of Spindle facts

Name – Euonymus
Family – Celastraceae
Type – shrub

Height – 1 ⅓ to 16 feet (0.5 to 5 m)
Exposure – full sun, part sun

Soil: ordinary   –   Foliage: deciduous or evergreen   –   Fruit formation: fall

Care, from planting to pruning, will help you enhance the growth of your spindles.

Planting spindle

The most promising season to plant spindle is fall, in order to promote root growth and settling in.

Planting spindleIf you must plant in spring, provide for more regular watering over the summer.

  • Spindle loves sun and full sun is where it blooms best, but it still copes perfectly with living in part sun.
  • Spindle tolerates all types of soil, whether acidic or chalky, heavy or well drained.
  • Water regularly after planting.

In a hedge, keep a distance of at least 32 inches (80 cm) to 3 feet (1 meter) between specimens.

Propagating spindle

Spindle is easily propagated through cuttings and through grafting.

spindle propagationPreparing cuttings is the easier and quicker of the two if you’re looking to multiply your spindle.

  • Collect your cuttings at the end of of the summer, on soft-wood growth.
  • Dip the cuttings in powdered rooting agents to facilitate root growth.
  • Keep the cuttings under a cold frame over the winter.
  • Here are our tips on how to prepare cuttings.

Pruning and caring for spindle

Spindle planting, care and propagationPruning isn’t a mandatory obligation, but it is performed if the shrub must be reduced in size or if its shape must be altered.

  • Prune in fall or spring in order to balance the tree for evergreen species.
  • Best is to prune quite drastically at the end of winter for deciduous species to promote a dense, compact growth.
  • Avoid pruning during cold spells, especially if its below freezing.

Caring for it is very easy and only calls for very little attention apart from the pruning.

Watering spindle

Spindle is a shrub that requires only little watering, except in case of extended dry spells.

Potted spindle also has more pressing needs in terms of water.

  • Remember to clean the base of your spindle regularly in order to remove weeds and break the soil crust that tends to keep the water from seeping in.
  • Water potted spindle as soon as the surface soil is dry.

Diseases and parasites that impact spindle

Spindle is quite the hardy one and it resists diseases and parasites well, but it occasionally is tickled by mites and ticks, aphids and mealybugs.

Among the more common diseases infecting spindle, note powdery mildew which is clearly recognized due to its whitish velvety layer spreading across the leaves.

Learn more about spindle

Deciduous and evergreen spindle varietiesSpindle fruits are unique and the many different varieties will let you select from a rainbow of colors.

  • BE CAREFUL: spindle berries are poisonous and can lead to severe digestive disorders.

The fruits are encased in capsules that open up in fall. Their seeds naturally attract birds thanks to their yellow, red or orange colors that stand out with the red casing.

  • Most often doted with evergreen leaves, this shrub is often found in hedges.
  • For deciduous varieties, the leaves are magnificent in fall and alternate from purple, orange and pink.

Spindle does fine in normal strong summers, but it fears heat waves and that’s why it isn’t always found along coasts in warmer climates.

It doesn’t fear freezing, and can be planted almost anywhere in temperate climates.

  • Examples of deciduous spindle species – Euonymus alatus, Euonymus europaes
  • A few evergreen spindle species – Euonymus fortuneiEuonymus japonicus

Smart tip about spindle

Spindle is perfectly adapted to evergreen hedges and it will additionally provide you with a wide range of often original colors.

Images: Pixabay: Gabriela Piwowarska, Erwin Hörtner, Manfred Richter, Markus Winkler
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