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Euonymus microphyllus (Box Leafed Euonymous)

How much do we actually know about this plant? Is it a form of the well known Euonymus japonica that we know to be so salt and wind tolerant? Coastal yes but seaside – we’re trying it out almost on the beach in Rye but its salt tolerance remains – to us – a bit of a mystery. We know it’s pretty, clips well, is hardy, grows slowly and is shade tolerant. You can always tell if a clipped plant is shade tolerant by parting the crown and peering inside. If there are masses of leaves within, it’s very shade tolerant. If it’s bare or the leaves are dead within, it isn’t even slightly shade tolerant. Why the mystery? Because, like everyone, we’re desperately trying to find reasonable substitutes for box. Our beloved Box that we used to have so much of is currently going through an attempt by air born fungal disease (Box blight) and caterpillars (Box Tree caterpillars) to eradicate the entire species. It will pass, as epidemics always do but in the meantime all we can do is seek alternatives. We have many suggestions and this is probably the closest to a substitute. In some ways nicer (greener with bight new foliage) but the power of tradition is great and we’ve grown box for hedging and topiary for a very very long time. This plant seems happy on any soil, sun or shade and possibly with in a few metres of the sea. We’ll get back to you on that one.

Propagated by cuttings in Italy.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.