Burning bush 'Compacta' (Euonymus alatus 'Compacta'), a burning bush cultivar, is favored for its scarlet-red fall foliage display. A relatively slow-growing shrub, it produces attractive but sparse fruits in addition to the fall color. Burning bush prefers sunny locations (and produces the most brilliant reds when it gets lots of sun) but tolerates shade.
How Far Apart Should You Plant Burning Bush 'Compacta'?
Burning bush 'Compacta,' despite the name's suggestion of a dwarf shrub, can grow to 10 feet tall and 10 feet across. A slow-growing shrub, especially in zones 3 & 4, where it may not be reliably winter-hardy, it may take years for individual plants to grow into a continuous hedge planting.
When planting, take into consideration your USDA planting zone and your final purpose for the burning bush 'Compacta' plantings. Severe yearly pruning will keep a 'Compacta' from expanding to its full height and width, if you want to maintain a low hedge, but it will also cut away the showiest section of fall color, as the tip growth generally is the most brilliant red. If you want a hedge or continuous backdrop planting of 'Compacta,' plant the bushes seven feet apart in northern climates (zones 3 & 4), and 10 feet apart in zone 5 and south. Until the bushes grow to their full width, you'll want to fill in the gap with tall perennials or perhaps with other short-lived shrubs.
For accent planting, plant the 'Compacta' shrubs at least 10 feet apart in all zones so that they'll not eventually grow together into a hedge, or appear to be one, very large shrub.
Gretchen Maron has written content for journals, websites, newspapers, radio news and newsletters, ranging from the International Horn Society journal "Horn Call" and the Air America Radio website, to non-profit organization websites. A librarian for over 30 years and a professional writer since 1996, she's an experienced, knowledgeable researcher.