Burning Bush, Cork Bush, Winged Euonymus 'Compacta'

Euonymus alatus

Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Euonymus (yoo-ON-ih-mus) (Info)
Species: alatus (a-LAY-tus) (Info)
Cultivar: Compacta
Additional cultivar information:(aka Compactus)
Synonym:Celastrus alatus
Synonym:Euonymus alata
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:



Grown for foliage

Good Fall Color

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Santa Clara, California

Clifton, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Seymour, Connecticut

Wilmington, Delaware

Braselton, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Rome, Georgia

Cary, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois (2 reports)

Hampton, Illinois

Jacksonville, Illinois

Oak Lawn, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Spring Grove, Illinois

White Heath, Illinois

Yorkville, Illinois

Fishers, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana

Michigan City, Indiana

Davenport, Iowa

Alfred, Maine

Chestertown, Maryland

West Friendship, Maryland

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Westford, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Holland, Michigan

Novi, Michigan

Kasota, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Greeley, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Derry, New Hampshire

Rochester, New York

Raleigh, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Dayton, Ohio

Garrettsville, Ohio

Hilliard, Ohio

Mount Orab, Ohio

Springboro, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

Bend, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Canadensis, Pennsylvania

Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

Irwin, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

North Augusta, South Carolina (2 reports)

Webster, South Dakota

Knoxville, Tennessee

Maryville, Tennessee

Houston, Texas

Yantis, Texas

Kaysville, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Broadway, Virginia

Portsmouth, Virginia

East Port Orchard, Washington

Eatonville, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Beverly, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin

Menasha, Wisconsin

New Lisbon, Wisconsin

Stoughton, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 31, 2015, EllaTiarella from Portage, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

The first owner of my house planted these in the mid 1970s in a row along one boundary line and in a few other places. I like their natural shape and I do not prune to keep them smaller. Some of them have a diameter of 14-16 feet. They are disease free, and pretty in the fall. But they self-sow freely, and really are too big for where they were planted. Also, I never recommend a long row of identical plants, because when one dies you end up with a gap. (The original landscaper put this row of shrubs in a 30" wide bed of lavastones over plastic, which I abhor. And the overhanging branches of the shrubs totally obstruct the water from the UG sprinkler heads placed at the edge of the lavastones. I don't think much of his design and long-term planning skills.) Plant with care & caution... read more


On Dec 1, 2014, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

I grew up with one of these at the corner of my parent's house in Chicagoland. It did always stay about 6 ft high x 8 ft high and was not horribly dense as many of them get with a very dense fibrous root system. It did sucker some as many shrubs do. It had fairly good corky twigs and good fall color.

I am negative on this species because it is so over-planted and thrown into so many spots where it just does not fit. The standard large form is also thrown around so much everywhere in landscapes and is kept smaller by the most horrible shearing, making a green lump.It has escaped cultivation into the wild and is helping to ruin good ecology in the native woods.


On Apr 24, 2014, hermero from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

Planted 4 Burning Bush Compacta plants 2 years ago; well spaced in front of Blue Arrow Junipers in a bed along a cement parking area. One never did leaf out. 2013 we planted another that did better than the first 3 which had very pale green leaves. Added some Ironite and all 4 seemed to green up pretty well. Now Spring 2014, they are all pale green again. They are south facing and well mulched and Oregon's springs bring plenty of water. I did read on a blog that a shortage of magnesium could be the problem. I will try some epsoms salts and a little extra nitrogen. If anyone has experience with this problem, please share. Thanks.


On Feb 24, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This cultivar is anything but compact. Just goes to show how far a good cultivar name can go to perk up sales.

'Compacta' is almost as fast-growing as the parent species and grows almost as tall and wide (12' x 12', vs 15' x 15' for the species). This isn't a plant to use in a foundation planting unless you want to commit yourself to performing an annual heavy pruning.

It also lacks the prominent corky ornamental wings on the stems that gives the species its name.

Import, trade, sale, purchase, and planting this species is illegal in my state and one other. This plant invades and impoverishes natural areas in eastern and midwestern North America. I often encounter this in wild areas, with seedlings sometimes carpeting the ground in woodlands.... read more


On Jun 10, 2010, outdoorlover from Enid, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This bush has grown well in our area, but I'm not sure it provides enough benefit to live in our front yard. It is grown for its beautiful red fall foliage, but it only seems to last a week or two. Maybe it just seemed that way the past year or two. I'll try to pay better attention to it this year. Maybe it turns bright red right before our first freeze, which then causes the leaves to fall off??


On Mar 5, 2010, Blackwill from Bakersfield, CA wrote:

I ordered two of these plants from Michigan Bulb (I know...). They arrived mid October of '09, and were planted right away.

A few leaves popped out on each plant early on, and then they seemed to drop back hard in Winter.

It is now early March in zone 9b/10 (So Central California), and I have noticed that there is very, very little action with regard to bud burst or new growth. Almost none, actually. The buds themselves are very small, and have not yet begun to swell.

Too early for leafing out in this zone???


On Jan 21, 2010, tsswizek from South Bend, IN wrote:

Dwarf Burning Bush seem to work very well in Z5/Northern Indiana. They are quite tolerant in tough environments. In addition, each winter when snow covers the ground, rabbits take quite a liking to them, and the bounce back through the season nicely.


On Apr 19, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

our burning bushes are doing great. we put them in 10 years ago and kept them well pruned. they are now around 5 feet tall. beautifull in spring summer and fall.


On Jun 27, 2006, chahn from anchorage, AK (Zone 4a) wrote:

My husband bought two plants at Costco in late May and was very excited. That very night a moose came up to our back door and ate one half of each plant. We removed them from the yard and placed them on our deck. It has been a month and they have recovered nicely. My husband is transplanting them into the yard today. Hopefully the moose will not be back this summer.


On Aug 17, 2005, binkandemsmom from Derry, NH wrote:

My husband and I were fortunate enough to buy our first house with 15 dwarf burning bushes already planted in the front yard . We moved in this past April when the bushes didn't yet have any foliage on them (we are in NH). I'm embarrassed to say that my husband and I (being novice gardeners at best....we are learning more everyday though ;) had no clue what type of bush they were for the first 2 months!! I finally was able to find an old faded tag from one as I was doing some yard work. They are currently ranging from just over 2'-3.5' tall (planted in 2 rows). They are planted a few feet back from the edge of our 2.5 foot tall retaining wall. About 2/3 get a moderate amount of sun while the rest are under the canopy of our huge 3-4' wide maple tree...so only part sun at best. There is... read more


On Aug 6, 2004, jgmcgeady from Michigan City, IN wrote:

When is the best time of year to trim the burning bush compacta?


On Jul 30, 2004, gardenia1 from Exton, PA wrote:

I love this plant and it is doing well except for either a rabbit or squirrel has been digging around the root area and eating the bark of the stems. So far my plant is strong and holding up but it is yet young and has been planted now for a year in my yard. I fear the squirrels, rabbits will eventually kill my plant. Would anyone have any suggestions on what to do to prevent these animals from feeding on the bark and digging to the roots?


On Apr 17, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This bush can also be grown as a hedge. Foliage is jade-green all summer, then turns crimson red in the fall. Yellow flowers in spring.


On Oct 25, 2003, roshana from Jacksonville, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

My two dwarf burning bushes are about 4 years old and are about the same size as when I got them. Very small/slow growth. They are planted right next to my front door, in full sun and are wonderfully red in the fall.