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Euonymus atropurpureus (Eastern Wahoo)

Burningbush, Eastern Wahoo, Burning Bush, Wahoo, Waahoo, Whahoo, Spindle Tree, Euonymus atropurpurea

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Euonymus Atropurpureus, Eastern Wahoo, Burning Bush, shrubs, fall color, shrub with berries, red leaves
Euonymus Atropurpureus, Eastern Wahoo, Burning Bush, shrubs, fall color, shrub with berries, red leaves
Euonymus Atropurpureus, Eastern Wahoo, Burning Bush, shrubs, fall color, shrub with berries, red leaves

Noted for its very ornamental red berries and attractive fall color, Euonymus atropurpureus (Eastern Wahoo) is a very adaptable, upright, spreading, deciduous shrub or small tree. In late spring to early summer, a profusion of tiny, maroon purple flowers are borne in small forking cymes of 7-20 flowers and last about a month. The flowers are replaced by light pink to pale purple, 4-lobed seed capsules that mature during the fall and become crimson. At this time, each seed capsule splits open to reveal scarlet-coated seeds which hang on far into winter. They are a preferred bird food during winter months. The foliage of elliptic, lime-green leaves turns bright red in fall. Adding a bold splash of color in the fall and winter, Eastern Wahoo is an excellent North American native and a lovely substitute for the flamboyant burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) in parts of the USA where the latter is invasive.

  • Grows up to 12-20 ft. tall (3.6-6 m) with a spread of 15-25 ft. (4.5-7.5 m). This woody plant reproduces by reseeding itself.
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. While full shade is tolerated, the best fruit production generally occurs in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils excluding boggy and wet soils.
  • Winner of the GreatPlants award, which is a joint effort between the Nebraska Nursery, Landscape Association and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. The goal of this award is to identify superior ornamental landscape plants that meet the challenging growing conditions of the region. 
  • Generally pest and disease free, but watch for scale. 
  • Attracts birds and wildlife
  • Mass in woodland gardens, naturalized areas or as informal hedge or screen.
  • Native primarily to the Midwestern United States, but its range extends from southern Ontario south to northern Florida and Texas
  • All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Celastraceae
Genus Euonymus
Common names Wahoo, Spindle Tree, Burning Bush
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 12' - 20'
(3.7m - 6.1m)
Spread 15' - 25'
(4.6m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Midwest, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northeast, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Euonymus americanus (American Strawberry Bush)
Euonymus fortunei (Wintercreeper)
Euonymus japonicus ‘Silver King’ (Japanese Spindle)
Euonymus japonicus ‘Microphyllus Aureovariegatus’ (Japanese Spindle)
Euonymus fortunei ‘Canadale Gold’ (Wintercreeper)
Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’ (Wintercreeper)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Native Plant Alternatives to Euonymus alatus (Burning Bush)
Native Plant Alternatives to Euonymus fortunei (Wintercreeper)
Attractive Deciduous Shrubs and Trees with Red Fruits and Berries
Attractive Shrubs and Trees with Orange Fruits and Berries
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 7
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Celastraceae
Genus Euonymus
Common names Wahoo, Spindle Tree, Burning Bush
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 12' - 20'
(3.7m - 6.1m)
Spread 15' - 25'
(4.6m - 7.6m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Midwest, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Northeast, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Euonymus
Guides with
Euonymus
Not sure which Euonymus to pick?
Compare Now

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