Dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus "Compactus"), an adaptable deciduous shrub, derives its common name from its brightly coloured foliage and small size. The shrub's dark green leaves turn bright pink to crimson red in fall, and it produces small, inconspicuous flowers in early spring. Although not truly compact -- often reaching 10 feet in height -- dwarf burning bush can be kept much smaller by pruning. The plant's stems have corky ridges that look like wings, which have given rise to another of the shrub's common names: winged euonymus.
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Things you need
- Organic compost
- Slow-release fertiliser
- Pruning shears
Plant dwarf burning bush from containers anytime the ground is workable in well-drained soil of average fertility. Select a planting location that receives partial shade. Although the bush tolerates full sun to nearly full shade, it performs best in filtered sunlight.
Water deeply two to three times a week for the first six to eight weeks after planting to help your dwarf burning bush become established. Reduce watering frequency to once every 10 to 14 days after new growth appears.
Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the ground surrounding the bush to increase the soil's moisture retention. Use compost, bark or pine straw for the best results. Add more mulch as necessary to maintain the layer throughout the year.
Feed your dwarf burning bush once a year in early fall using a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertiliser according to the manufacturer's directions. Water the soil around the bush thoroughly after feeding to prevent burning the plant's roots.
Prune overgrown branches in late winter, just before new growth begins. Dwarf burning bush has a strong growth habit that allows it to tolerate heavy pruning. Snip off damaged, diseased or wayward branches as needed using sterile pruning shears.
Tips and warnings
- Space dwarf burning bushes at least 3 feet apart to create a dense screen. Allow about 5 feet between the shrub and other landscape plants.
- Dwarf burning bush thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
- Avoid planting dwarf burning bush in heavy, wet or poorly drained soils.
- Too much shade reduces the plant's vivid fall colour.
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