How to Propagate Golden Euonymus

Taking semi-hardwood cuttings and stem layering are the two methods most often used to propagate golden euonymus (Euonymus fortune). A broadleaf evergreen shrub perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9), golden euonymus can be grown as a mounded shrub, ground cover or climbing vine. This rampant grower propagates readily by either technique. Cuttings from lateral shoots produce low-spreading plants, while cuttings from vertical shoots produce more upright plants.

Close-up image of variegated euonymous fortunei
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Golden euonymus is considered invasive in some areas of the U.S.

Golden Landscape Accents

Gardeners prize golden euonymus for the bright accent it adds to landscapes and foundation plantings. "Emerald 'n' Gold" (Euonymus fortunei "Emerald 'n' Gold") sports bright green leaves edged in gold and grows 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. "Gold Splash" (Euonymus fortunei "Roemertwo") displays round leaves with large golden yellow margins and matures at 2 feet high and wide. Gold coloration is especially prominent in "Canadale Gold" (Euonymus fortunei "Canadale Gold"), which will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. All of these golden-hued varieties are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8.

Taking Stem Cuttings

Semi-hardwood cuttings of golden euonymus are taken in mid-July through autumn. Semi-hardwood is a partially mature stem of the current season's growth. Gather the cuttings in the morning when the plant is fully hydrated, snipping 4- to 6-inch-long shoots with a knife or shears that have been disinfected with household disinfectant. Remove one-third of the leaves from the bottom of the stem and brush the bare stem with powdered rooting hormone. Immediately insert the stems into containers with drainage holes and filled with a mixture of 1 part peat, 1 part perlite and 1 part sand. Water the media and cover the cuttings with plastic before placing them in a warm location with bright, indirect light.

Layering Existing Plants

Golden euonymus can also be propagated by stem layering in the fall. Select low-growing branches and stake or pin a 4- to 6-inch section of the stem to the ground near the plant. You can use a short piece of thin wire, landscape fabric anchors or even a hairpin to hold the stem in contact with the soil. Mound an inch or two of soil over the stem and keep the layer well watered.

Growing and Transplanting

Once the semi-hardwood cuttings have rooted in a few weeks, they can be transplanted to a suitable pot with drainage holes and allowed to grow for several more weeks before being moved to their permanent location. Likewise, the layered stem will begin to grow roots in several weeks. Cut the new layer away from the plant with a sharp shade, lifting the soil around the root ball. Pot the new plant and allow it to grow for several more weeks before transplanting it into the landscape.