Spindle, with its 175 identified species, on top of being decorative, can be incorporated anywhere in the garden. Indeed, depending on species, it can take on different shapes. Used as ground cover, or as a climbing plant, spindle is also popular for the low maintenance it requires. Follow a few specific rules during planting and the plant will grow generously afterwards.

Having a spindle in one’s garden can effectively fill a space and its decorative side is very popular. It also makes it possible to fight off weeds. Used to cover borders or rock gardens, whether in hedges or as isolated plants, spindle is a multi-purpose shrub, that includes numerous species.

Spindle and its various species

About 175 species are listed. Spindle is usually chosen for its decorative appearance. Whether it is to be used for its decorative aspect or to set up a hedge – in which case its height can exceed 20 feet (6 m) – spindle always stands out, thanks to its particularly colourful foliage and beautiful fall colours. Thus, a distinction can be made between several groups of spindle, some species bearing the feature of having deciduous leaves, while others are evergreen. Some spindles will develop by spreading on the ground, creating a carpet of flowers, while others will be climbing species. Among the deciduous species we can include, for example, winged spindle (Euonymus alatus), which has deep red foliage and purple fruit. European spindle, also known as burning bush, is a deciduous species that grows naturally in the forests of Europe. It has dark green foliage and pink fruits and deciduous spindle is usually grown for its decorative touch. Persistent species are, in turn, well-liked for use in the formation of a hedge. Fortune’s spindle, (Euonymus fortunei) a species native to China, Euonymus myrianthus and Euonymus wilsonii are all evergreen spindles.

Planting a spindle tree

Planting will not occur during the same time period, depending on whether the species is deciduous or persistent. Deciduous species can be planted throughout the entire winter, while evergreens can be put in the ground in the spring. In general, spindle grows on any soil, even calcareous. Fresh and well-drained soil is however the preferred choice. In well-prepared soil that is enriched in humus, seedlings can be placed every 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm) in the case of a hedge. An average height of 23.5 inches (60 cm) is ideal for the choice of plants. The spindle, once in the ground, will quickly thrive. However, it will require some care to achieve this healthy growth.

Maintenance tips for spindle

First of all, it is during the early years that one needs to be the most careful. Indeed, during this period, always keep the ground around your plant clean and free of debris. In addition, hoeing in the spring will allow for moderate but penetrating irrigation. A supply of complete fertilizer during the same season is also useful. Furthermore, it is also in spring that pruning will occur, mainly in regard to persistent species. Pruning at planting time is also recommended, as it strengthens shrubs. When the deciduous species are pruned in late winter, they are significantly trimmed in order to make the new shoots long-lasting. Despite its hardiness, spindle can be the prey of many predators, such as the black aphid, meanly bugs, powdery mildew, or ermine moths. The latter is a white butterfly which, as larvae, eat the spindle’s leaves between May and June. For each parasite, there exists a cure to counter it, which enables one to maintain his or her spindle tree in good health.

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Published in Climbing plants by Alexander on 31 Aug 2011