'Emerald Gaiety' Wintercreeper;
or, Silver Euonymus
"Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere;
By the dusty roadside,
On the sunny hill-side,
Close by the noisy brook,
In every shady nook,
I come creeping, creeping everywhere."
-Sarah Roberts Boyle
In the September photo at right, the perennial with the white star-flowers are Wood Aster. The green & creamy-white half-creeping half-shrubby plants are Euonymus fortunei var radicans 'Emerald Gaiety.'
E. fortunei var radicans is native of China, Korea, & Japan. It is called Wintercreeper because it is evergreen creeping vine with a stunning winter presence. It has many cultivars of which 'Emerald Gaeity' is notably beautiful with its white-fringed shiny green leaves.
The species per se is capable of being invasive & in some places has escaped gardens to compete with native flora. But the variegated cultivars are slow-growing & vastly more restrained. We planted several two-inch-pot tiny starts of 'Emerald Gaiety' many years ago & the spread has been awfully slow in a dryish partially shaded location.
The species can spread from ten feet, on up to a whopping fifty feet covering the whole side of a house in the manner of ivy, but 'Emerald Gaiety' usually maxes out at four feet & takes a good long time to reach even that. It's much too poky at spreading to be an effective groundcover, but for a colorful leaf for all seasons it mixes well with perennials that come & go.
To further extend a plant, individual vines can be rooted while still attached to the parent, by making a couple of thin cuts under leaves, dabbing the cut with rooting hormone, & weighting it into moist soil. It's about the only way to speed up its spread if you were hoping for a better groundcover.
It can also be trellised, or trained as a short wall-vine, or left to its own devices slowly growing into a partially creeping partially upright little shrub.
I positioned it next to the sump-pump with the idea of training it over the back edge of the wooden lid. Patience is the rule of the day for this variety of Wintercreeper, which will never be the fully vining creeper that other varieties of the same species can be.
It does not like high winds but is otherwise very hardy. It does well under most light conditions from full sun to fairly deep shade, but does have some susceptibility to sunburn if it has no protection at all. Ours is protected at the morning-sunny mouth of a shade garden. Flowers are easy to miss, but it can produce quite showy red inedible berries, though ours has never done so in its semi-shady spot.
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