Euonymus americanus, Strawberry Bush

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

One of the few “good” Euonymus, this native* shrub gives a spectacular show each fall. The raspberry color husks of the seed capsules burst open to reveal DayGlo orange covered seeds, hence the common name Heart’s-a-Bustin’. This surreal effect is fun to show children and adults!

Print Version: Euonymus americanus, Strawberry Bush

Euonymus americanus, Strawberry Bush: Early Fall Shrub; Height: 4–6 feet; Spread: 4–6 feet; Bloom Color: Pale green with purple stamens. Characteristics: Airy, multistemmed deciduous shrub; Oval, bright green leaves, 3 inches long; Inconspicuous green flowers from May to June; Unique red fruits resembling strawberries open to reveal orange-red arils (the seed coverings) that dangle from the open capsules; Leaves become dark red in fall; Bright green bark on twigs, darker bark on trunk; Spreads by rhizomes; also, if stem nodes touch the ground, they may develop roots. Attributes: Tolerates clay soil, full shade (but fruits best in light shade), wet conditions, and Black Walnut; susceptible to Euonymus scale and crown gall; Deer occasionally-to-frequently severely damage (may need protection if deer are overpopulated); Therapeutic uses; fruits may be harmful if eaten; Seeds eaten minimally by turkey and songbirds. Growing and Maintenance Tips; Soil Requirements: Slightly acidic, well-drained; Light Requirements: Partial Shade; Water Requirements: Moist; Use as hedge or in shade gardens; Hardiness: USDA Zones 6–9. Excellent Replacement for Berberis thunbergii - Japanese Barberry Euonymus alatus - Winged Burning Bush Nandina domestica - Heavenly Bamboo It is native to DC and, in PA, is mostly concentrated along the southeastern border. It is common in the Piedmont and Coastal Plains of DE and VA and infrequent in the VA mountains.
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.