Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Wintercreeper Euonymus
Euonymus fortunei 'Coloratus'

Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Euonymus (yoo-ON-ih-mus) (Info)
Species: fortunei (for-TOO-nee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Coloratus

Synonym:Euonymus fortunei var. radicans
Synonym:Euonymus radicans
Synonym:Euonymus japonicus var. acutus
Synonym:Euonymus japonicus var. chinensis
Synonym:Euonymus japonicus var. radicans

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

Unknown - Tell us

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Provides winter interest

Soil pH requirements:
4.5 or below (very acidic)
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
8.6 to 9.0 (strongly alkaline)
over 9.1 (very alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Magwar
Thumbnail #1 of Euonymus fortunei by Magwar

By Magwar
Thumbnail #2 of Euonymus fortunei by Magwar

By growin
Thumbnail #3 of Euonymus fortunei by growin

By growin
Thumbnail #4 of Euonymus fortunei by growin

By Rickwebb
Thumbnail #5 of Euonymus fortunei by Rickwebb


6 positives
1 neutral
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative tx_flower_child On May 25, 2014, tx_flower_child from Dallas, TX wrote:

DO NOT PLANT. This was probably the biggest mistake (of many) that I've made re gardening. I wanted to cover a bare area and didn't want to use ivy. Wish I'd been warned about the invasiveness of purple winter creeper and other problems it causes. When it is horizontal on the ground, I think it's normal state, it becomes a mass of 'trip wires'. When I have cut it, it does grow vertically (to my surprise) and so far has grown between 2 to 3 ft. high. If I don't keep cutting it back, I don't know its upper limit. Growing vertically it sorta looks like a nice bush, or lots of them, in my yard. But still has new growth at the bottom trying to take over every available space. When I do trim or hack it, if I don't pick up every little itty bitty piece of stem, then I'll have another plant that will sprout. I recently noticed that it's getting ready to flower, something it's never done. Think I'd better get outside and lop off those flower heads now before they actually bloom. What'd like to do is lop off the head of the landscaper who planted it. One other problem I've encountered when trying to do a severe cutback is that the plant then forms into a hard clump at its base so that instead of a trip wire problem it creates a 'stub your toe on a hard rock type surface'. If you could walk a few steps in my shoes then you would know what I mean.
I suppose if one were to use it in a place where it would never be touched, it might be useful. But I'd be wary of it.

Negative coriaceous On Mar 16, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Like all cultivars of this species, it frequently sports to other forms. These forms need to be cut out when they appear, as they can outcompete the original cultivar.

I gave up planting this species before I realized its invasive potential, because I see so many plantings infested and disfigured or even killed by euonymus scale.

Once established, this species can be very difficult to get rid of.

It is naturalized in most of the eastern and central states. The US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Nature Conservancy, and other organizations concerned with the preservation of natural areas in North America all have expressed concern about the invasive impact of this species on our environment.

It appears to be most destructive in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and neighboring states.

In Massachusetts, I often find seedlings when weeding. Birds distribute the seeds widely. Cutting back climbing stems will temporarily reduce seeding.

Negative Rickwebb On Mar 3, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a pretty plant. My great criticism of it is that it grows rampantly and one must be careful when placing it anywhere. It has been sold a lot in the Chicago, Illinois area as one of the principle evergreen groundcovers along with English-Ivy, Japanese Pachysandra, and Common Periwinkle. It turns into a climbing vine by aerial roots if it hits a tree, shrub, wall, fence, or anything to give it altitude. It can develop a good amount of Crown Gall disease near the ground and it gets picked on by Euonymus Scale insect. I saw a large mass of it as groundcover and climbing vine on the stone walls of the east side headquarters at Morton Arboretum in the 1990's killed off by Euonymus Scale. I used to work as a groundsman around a hospital and there was a large mass of it as groundcover at the east entrance in a confined area. We in the crew had to prune away the climbing branches going up the brick walls or on other plants, and we had to mow it down with a lawnmower we set up at a higher height with a collection bag attached a few times each year. If anyone has a wooded, shaded yard, I would rather see native wildflowers and ferns of the woods present rather than the four popular evergreen groundcovers.

Positive Linno1555 On Dec 31, 2011, Linno1555 from Cumming, GA wrote:

If used properly Purple Wintercreeper is one of the best groundcovers that I've used in designs. It's especially useful in large masses where controlling erosion on slopes is important. It roots at nodes along the branching, thereby adding root mass to hold soils. If used in a smaller scale, in a 'busy garden' situation, be prepared for some high maintenance. In either case, the value of the fall/winter crimson colored foliage is a treasure to the eye. In my mind, it's medium texture, excellent color range, and ability to thrive in all conditions makes Euonymus Coloratus invaluable to the industry. In either case, enjoy!

Positive braun06 On May 10, 2011, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Here on the southern edge of zone 5a this plant does not remain evergreen on exposed vertical surfaces or trees. This however seems to tame the plants veracity to escape cultivation. I have used it very succesfully as a groundcover around many types of plants. Though it can grow fast, it is still manageable here.

For neatness I weedwack the stragglers that grow above the rest of the mass and cut stems growing into other plants. I would recommend that if you plant this near a building that you trim the branches to be 1' away from the edge of a structure for easier management and perhaps use a gravel strip with barrier fabric. This makes it harder to root near a place you don't want it getting too established.

This plant is likely easy to escape cultivation due to its ease of establishment. We had nearly a month of temps above 95 degrees over the course of the summer with no rain. The plugs I planted didnt wilt and even grew through these conditions without supplmental watering. Plant it only if you know you won't want to remove it.

Positive violentfemmexx1 On Jun 21, 2008, violentfemmexx1 from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

i love this ground cover and i hope it spreads all over my yard

Positive scarletto On Sep 30, 2007, scarletto from Dawson Springs, KY wrote:

This plant is EASY to propagate. When I trim it up, I take the trimmings and stick them in the ground and forget about them.

Neutral rjones8194 On Jul 2, 2007, rjones8194 from Independence, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a very pretty ground cover but beware if not kept in bounds it will take over. The previous owners of my property planted it everywhere and it had wrapped up my sago palms, paper birchs, azaelas, and I am constanly pulling it off the front walk way. We've been here three years now and I am still fighting to get it under control so plant it with caution.

Positive Magwar On Apr 13, 2005, Magwar from Royston, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Wonderful groundcover; I have it along the drain line of my property and it is thriving wonderfully!

Positive Paulwhwest On May 28, 2004, Paulwhwest from Irving (Dallas area), TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a great groundcover; it spreads very quickly by rooting along it branches. Looks good all year around, but especially the winter.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Heber Springs, Arkansas
Hinsdale, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Columbia City, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Muncie, Indiana
Topeka, Kansas
Dawson Springs, Kentucky
Independence, Louisiana
Saginaw, Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
Westville, New Jersey
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Florence, South Carolina
Brandon, South Dakota
Morrison, Tennessee
Dallas, Texas (2 reports)
Ennis, Texas
Waukesha, Wisconsin

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