‘Emerald Gaiety’ packs a lot into its relatively small stature and is grown primarily for its lustrous, variegated foliage. Its leaves are a rich, darkish green, irregularly edged in white that can take on a subtle pinkish hue in winter. In May and June small green flowers appear, but these really only offer a little extra interest rather than a full-on display. This does mean, though, that ‘Emerald Gaiety’ makes an excellent back-drop for brighter coloured flowers. As tough as old boots, but far more ornamental, ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is a good-looking, hard-working garden ‘must-have’ that can justify its place on its own merits as well as helping show off other plants. Well deserving of its RHS AGM.
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Euonymus Fortunei Emerald Gaiety at-a-glance
Flowers:Pale green in summer
Ease of maintenance:✯✯✯✯✯
Growth Rate:Medium Slow
Preferred situation:Full sun to partial shade
Height / Spread: 1.0m x 1.5m
Soil and Situation: Other than needing good drainage, ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is not at all fussy and will grow happily in sand, clay, chalk or loam be it acid, alkaline or neutral. It needs some sun, but won’t complain if it’s in partial shade – and it doesn’t need a sheltered spot.
Maintenance:An annual pruning in mid to late spring is generally all that is necessary. A little extra work with the secateurs may be required if you have planted it either in a more formal setting (but Box it’s not) or are training it. Younger plants will be grateful for a good dollop of garden mulch in spring.
Versatility:‘Emerald Gaiety’ works as ground cover, as a stand-alone bushy shrub; as a free-form, low lying hedge; as edging for a larger border or it can be trained against a wall or fence.
And finally: Euonymus fortunei is native to China, Korea, the Philippines and Japan and is named after the Scottish botanist and plant hunter Robert Fortune (1812 – 1880) who collected the plant in China and brought it back to Britain.