Burning Bush is a Brilliant Colored Shrub
Scientific Name: Euonymus alatus
Hardy Zones: 4-8
Growth/Year: 3 to 5 feet per year
Height: 15 feet to 30 feet
Width: 10 feet to 15 feet
Soil Requirements: Prefers moist, well-drained soil, but it is tolerant and adaptable in drought and heat stress.
Blooming Season: Spring through late summer
Sun: Full Sun to part shade
Burning bush is a fast-growing shrub that is native to northeastern Asia. The firm, somewhat spindle-shaped branches blossom with dark green foliage from late spring throughout the summer. There are no new or showy blooms, just some tiny star-shaped flowers that shyly emerge for a very short while. The flowers then quickly give way to reddish-orange berries, but the real selling point of this plant isn't the flowers or the berries. The lovely green foliage becomes a flaming shade of red in autumn, adding a real dramatic flair to any garden. It is important to note that these red leaves are most brilliant in fall only when planted in full sun. If this plant is grown in partial shade, however, the color of red is much more subdued.
Maintenance is not labor-intensive. Burning bush is very adaptable and tolerant of poor soils, heat stress, and drought. Little pruning is required, so you can just let it grow naturally. Some people prefer to contain the size and shape of this wide-spreading bush by cutting it back annually. This is not an evergreen shrub, however, so if you do decide to prune it the best time is after the fall leaves have finished dropping.
Wherever you decide to plant this bush, be sure to give it plenty of room to spread. Many people love to plant it as a bush to add some singular bursts of interest to the landscape, but others choose to plant several closers together to create a very dense and colorful privacy hedge. Maintaining the uniform size and shape for a fence does require a bit more care and attention. Additionally, don't forget that the bush is quite bare in winter.
If you are looking for a colorful bush that is easy to maintain, adaptable in most situations and yet also adds some real excitement to your garden every fall, then give some serious thought to this plant. Burning bush has a long, interesting blooming season, and it is a plant that certainly knows how to go out with a bright red bang.