How to root a Euonymus cutting

shrub-euonymus image by Jeffrey Zalesny from

Euonymus alatus, or burning bush, is an attractive evergreen shrub commonly grown for its impressive foliage, tolerance of poor soil conditions and its minimal care requirements. During the spring and summer, Euonymus plants sport rich green leaves, and in the fall explode with bright red foliage and berries.

Growing up to 3 m (10 feet) tall, they are popular sheared as hedges in landscapes. Planted and cared for properly, Euonymus roots easily from softwood stem cuttings. Propagate these stunning shrubs by taking cuttings from existing plants in June and July.

Cut several 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inch) stem tips from a healthy Euonymus shrub using pruning shears or a sharp knife. Wrap the cuttings in moist paper towels until ready to plant.

Fill the container with moist commercial potting soil or a mixture of equal parts moist sand and peat moss. Place the container in a dripping pan to catch water overflow. Mist the soil with the spray bottle until thoroughly damp but not dripping.

Strip the lower leaves from the cuttings, leaving at least two pairs of leaves on the tip end. Mist the cut ends until slightly damp. Dip the cut end into the powdered rooting hormone and tap to remove excess powder. Use the chopstick to make one hole 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) deep for each cutting. Space the holes at least 5 cm (2 inches) apart. Insert one cutting in each hole to a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 of the stem length, pressing the soil around each stem firmly.

Insert the chopsticks into the container evenly spaced around the edges of the pot. Place the plastic bag over the chopsticks to keep the bag from touching the cuttings. Place the container in a warm area that receives direct or filtered sunlight. Mist the inside of the plastic bag every other day or when the soil appears dry.

Check the cuttings for root growth after six to eight weeks. Gently tug at the base of the cutting -- if there is resistance, the cutting has sufficient root growth for transplanting. Dig up the rooted cuttings carefully and transplant to larger containers or directly into the garden.