Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Burning bush prefer to grow in a sunny spot, and in soil that is moist (not wet) and slightly acidic. Fortunately, they also adapt to partial shade, poor soil, dry soil, and the wrong pH, although each of these elements may adversely affect their fall color display.
Things to consider:
The rapid breakdown of hardwood mulch around the shrubs may result in a nitrogen deficiency (yellow leaves and slow growth). This can be remedied by yearly applications of fertilizer, or by switching to a mulch that decays more slowly.
Plants benefit from being fertilized annually in the spring before new growth begins. Have your soil tested first to determine existing nutrient levels before starting a fertilizer regime.
Burning bush growing in alkaline soil may develop mild leaf chlorosis (yellowing leaves). Like nitrogen deficiencies, this problem can also be remedied through a yearly application of the right type of fertilizer.
Prolonged stress like an extended summer drought may cause your burning bush to turn color prematurely.
Burning bush is generally trouble-free, but watch out for scale and powdery mildew.
Exposure: Sun/partial shade.
Soil: Not super fussy, but does need ample drainage.
Form: Shrub-like; starts with an upright growth habit becoming more rounded with age.
Foliage/bark: 1 to 3-inch long narrow leaves, finely serrated; medium to dark green in summer and turning flaming red (full sun) to pale pink (shade) in the fall. The bark has visible corky ridges on the regular-sized species, but is smaller and less distinctive on the so-named "dwarf" variety.
Flower/fruit: Inconspicuous flowers in late spring/early summer; produces tiny red-orange fruits in the fall that are attractive to wildlife.
Height/spread: Will slowly grow to 8 to 10 feet tall with a spread as wide ("Compactus"); other varieties may be much taller. Euonymus alatus 'Rudy Haag' is shorter - typically reaching 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate.
Hardiness: Most varieties are hardy to zone 4.
Winged burning bush can invade a variety of disturbed habitats including forest edges, fields, and roadways. Once established, it can form a dense stand that chokes out native vegetation. Before planting burning bush, check the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States to see if it is considered a threat in your area.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
My burning bush has small, completely black bugs, that have not moved yet. I found them on end of new growth, under leaves, and on the stem, in clusters. They are making the leaves roll and turn towards the inside. I have never seen this before. I have not introduced anything new in 3 years.
By Ellen B
I'm having the same problem. They look like aphids, only black. Lady bugs seem to be eating them, but there's not enough lady bugs to really make a difference. I've been making a spray of 2 Tbsp. dish soap, 2 tbs veg oil in a spray bottle of water. Then blast them with it. On alternate days I just knock them off the plant with the force of the water from the hose. Seems to be helping, but I notice the ends of the plants are dying where they were.
And I had just gotten these plants looking good after a couple winter's ago when the rabbits completely girdled them.
I don't know my gardening zone, but I want to know if a burning bush will grow where I live? Sometimes it is very windy. Also where can I buy the plant? Thank you.
By Jayne from Mulege, Baja Sur, Mexico
Here is a link to determine your gardening zone. I am not certain if you can grow one in Mexico or not but you can ask at a nursery or find out on one of the nurseries online. Just google nurseries and I am sure you can find out.
I was wondering if you can get a start off a burning bush, plant it, and it will grow?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Shelly from Patricksburg, IN
Burning Bush Cutting Progress (Euonymus alata)
This fall I took a scraggly looking branch off a little burning bush I had. The botanical name is Euonymous alata. These bushes are green during most of the growing season but turn fiery red in the fall before they lose their leaves. It is for this reason that people plant them. Yesterday I checked the cutting's progress.
I wasn't really expecting anything so the resistance I felt when I tugged gently at the cutting was surprising. I very pleased when I extracted the cutting and several tiny little roots were revealed. You can see the little roots on the right side of the picture.
Starting the cutting was pretty simple. I found a nice looking section of stem about 5 inches long. I cut it below a node, dipped it in water and applied powdered rooting hormone. When you dip the cutting in water it allows the powder to stick better. Then I put it in a container with sand and made sure to keep the sand moist. I will leave the cutting in the sand for a couple more weeks then pot it up. I'm keeping it in the garage to avoid frost damage on the tender little guy. Good luck.
I'm not sure about the rooting of the burning bush, but a lot of folks don't know that the burning bush drops seeds readily each year and a good friend might be more than willing to give you all the starts you need. I don't mulch under my bushes, so that may be helpful to know. They drop seeds under the mother plant and they come up everywhere like crazy.
What kind of food should I use on my Burning Bush?
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By leah0860 from Morganville, NJ
I spread some mulch under my buring bushes a few years ago. Other than that I leave mine alone. Right now they are a brillant red.
They don't require a lot of care. An organic mulch is really all they need because the mulch will break down over the years and improve the soil. If they were doing poorly this year, an inch of compost around them will help feed them without stressing them.
Can I trim a burning bush after the leaves fall and before winter sets in? We live in New York state.
By Janet M.
This page has some information about pruning.
Generally, I believe early spring and later winter are good times to do heavy pruning. Light trimming can be done just about any time.
What is the proper time to prune a burning bush?
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By Earline from Henderson, NC
I have several burning bushes and I prune them whenever I think of it, Any time I have my pruners in my hands maybe pruning something else. They have always done fine. I don't think you could kill them if you tried.
I just noticed that the rabbits did quite a number on all my burning bushes this winter. They have pruned them down quite a bit. Will this affect their growth this summer? Or doesn't it matter?
Hardiness Zone: 5b
By Vicki from Hannibal, NY
Hardiness Zone: 5a
Countrygal from New Castle, PA
It sounds like you have a classic case of aphids. The sticky substance you're referring to is called honeydew and is secreted by the feeding aphids. Ants just love to feed on honeydew, hence the sudden explosion of ants around your bushes. Some species of ants will actually "farm" aphids-caring for them and protecting them so that the ants have access to a constant supply of honeydew.
Give the leaves a good forceful spray (within reason) with the garden hose. This will knock off most of the aphids. To get rid of the remaining pests, mix 1 finely chopped onion, 1 large clove of finely chopped garlic, and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap with 2 cups of water. Put this all in a blender on high and then strain out the solids using cheesecloth or the toe of an old pantyhose. Pour this into a hand-held sprayer and spray this all over your burning bush. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several weeks and keep using it at the first sign of trouble.
Keep your eye on them--once the ants discover them, they may well take care of the problem! If not, mix up some mildly soapy water and spray that on the bushes, it should take care of them! (Luckily they're easy to get rid of!) Watch, though, that they don't invade other plants, or get on your roses.
It is October 1st in Wichita Kansas; can I still plant a burning bush?
How can you start a new bush from the one you have?
Is it too late to plant a burning bush?
By Jr from MO
My sister says the leaves on her burning bush are looking like you can almost see thru them. I want to help her with them, but am not sure where to start or what exactly to do.
By Libby F.
I sprayed my yard with bug spray and since then all the leaves have fallen off of my burning bushes and they look dead. It is August and I don't know what to do to make them produce more leaves. Should I go ahead and prune them to three inches or wait until early spring? We live in Tennessee and the temps are crazy this time of year so I don't know what to do. Can anyone help?
My burning bushes have been healthy for 15 years, but 4 years ago they started developing light green spots on the new growth. By mid summer the leaves start turning brown around the edges and dying. They start the spring full, green, and healthy looking and then become diseased. No one knows what is wrong with them. Can you help?
By Sam P
We recently planted a dwarf burning bush. It is in full sun, in sandy, well drained soil and I water it daily. Some of the leaves are brittle and brown. Am I watering too much?
I live in Texas, when is the best time to plant a dwarf burning bush?
Hardiness Zone: 8b
By Lou from San Angelo, TX
Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.
This past fall the burning bush did well. It took a year or two to get so pretty. The first year I was disappointed, but the wait was worth it.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
This is our brilliant fall burning bush and variegated barberry.
By Jackie from Enumclaw, WA
Very pretty flowers, thanks for sharing, good luck. (10/27/2009)
Beautiful picture, gorgeous bush! Good job on picture composition. Thumbs up! (10/29/2009)
Stunning colours! (10/30/2009)
My Burning Bush shrub has turned red and the bush is dying. The four other Burning Bushes are fine. What could have happen?
By kashst from Shelby Twp. MI
My Burning Bush's leaves are droopy, the soil is moist.
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By ngf_4 from Orleans, MI
I have a gorgeous Burning Bush that keeps growing, but I'm considering removing and destroying it, since it is an invasive plant that is illegal to be sold in my state, New Hampshire. This kind of plant has become quite a problem in some areas and is thought to be a future danger to our ecology. Do look into this. There are some nice alternatives that I've been encouraged to plant instead. Good luck. (06/05/2009)
I'm trying to find information on the care and growing of the plant called "Burning Bush". How often should they be given plant food, pruning, any kind of disease to look for, etc.? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Susan from Virginia
Deer and rabbits like to eat it, so I have found out. (05/09/2005)
I have had Burning Bushes for years. When I first planted them I gave them Miracle Grow about once a week. After that I haven't done anything special for them and they grow like crazy. My husband has to prune them each year. You can just let them grow but they get huge. I have never had any problems with them. They get full sun. I'm not sure if that matters. (05/14/2005)
I have two burning bushes I purchased online three years ago. They are planted in full sun twenty feet apart with a birdbath between them. The first year, they barely grew at all. The second year they went from two feet to three. This year they are really growing fast should reach five feet easily. No special care aside from some Miracle Grow when I planted them and I keep competing weeds away. I figure by next year they will be above the privacy fence. (07/13/2008)
Have one that is probably 40 years old. Keep it at first story gutter height for manageability. Trim in the spring time, just prior to leaves sprouting. Theory is to conserve plant energy hoping for lower branch development. Assume it can be done anytime from fall forward. (10/16/2008)
Is there any special winter care for burning bushes?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Kim from Des Moines, IA
Well I have 6 of them in direct sun and don't do anything to them and they look great. I am in zone 6. Further north than zone 5. (11/08/2010)
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Donna from Orange Count, NY
Burning bushes happen to be one of my favorite shrubs. They are low maintenance and offer wonderful fall color, and add interest to the winter landscape. Here are some hints for growing them:
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
Make sure you plant it in full sun. That is what makes it turn red in the fall. I made a mistake and planted mine shaded by a tree. (06/30/2008)
I have 3 and they surprised me by tolerating high winter winds from the north and salt spray from a busy street. They seem very hardy. They are planted in average garden soil. They do get good sun and do turn bright red in fall. I am also in zone 5. (06/30/2008)
They are very hardy shrubs. Mine are assaulted by rabbits every year, especially in the winter. For the first few years we had to keep a chicken wire fence around them. Once they got established and a bit larger we took the fences down. The rabbits still love them, but they are strong enough to survive them now. (07/01/2008)
Plant them in full sun. Water somewhat regularly the first year and after that, only during periods of very hot, dry weather. They are tough, hardy bushes and one of the few left alone by deer. They love neglect in my yard and are thriving in poor rocky clay soil. Let them grow a couple years before pruning. (07/01/2008)
By Tina, zone 5
I have two established burning bushes in my front yard. One is in 90% sun and one is in 90% shade. Obviously one is a bit bigger than the other, but they both turn red. The one in the shade just takes a bit longer. This spring only one of the branches of the entire bush bloomed. The rest of the bush is bare. Is this common? (08/05/2009)
Will a burning bush grow in acidic soil where pine trees used to be?
How and when do I plant a burning bush?