Euonymus alatus is a dark-leaved shrub, inconspicuous for most of the year but in autumn it comes into its own when the foliage turns vivid shades of scarlet and crimson. The summer flowers are insignificant, but they result in attractive purple and red fruits which split open to form four winged lobes with a bright orange seed at the centre. The bark is also attractively winged. It’s perfect for growing as a specimen shrub in a mixed border or front garden, where it’s magnificent autumn colours can be fully appreciated. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
For the best autumn colour, grow Euonymus alatus in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Prune out damaged, dead or crossing branches in late-winter to spring, and mulch annually with well-rotted manure or compost.