Gardens, especially those with existing trees, but also those with shade from buildings, always need shade-loving plants. Many of these are low-growing, hugging the ground, but often something larger and more shrub-like is needed. This is where the reliability and size of the Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper comes into its play. This terrific plant combines height and spread with bright foliage and an ability to thrive in full shade – the gardener’s perfect companion for all those ‘difficult’ spots.
The Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper is a broad-leaf evergreen shrub, growing around 3 feet tall, with variegated foliage. Each leaf has an irregular margin of white, sometimes thin, sometimes thick. Some leaves may be almost completely white, while others are mostly green. The overall effect is of sparkling gaiety, combining bright emerald green with an almost pure white. No wonder it has the name ‘Emerald Gaiety’. It grows across the ground into a broad, spreading mound of foliage, and will also often climb a tree or wall several feet into the air. At the coldest end of its hardiness it mostly grows across the ground, protected by snow from the bitter cold. In warmer areas it will often climb a wall to 6 feet high, or even more. It has a woody stem and branches, which spread outwards in all directions.
The best thing about the Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper is its tolerance of shade. In cooler areas it will grow also in full sun, but it thrives in partial shade, and grows well in full shade too. This puts it among that small but valuable group of plants that are truly ‘shade tolerant’ and ideal for all those shady spots in the garden. These can be found on the north side of your home, close to the wall, or underneath broad eaves. The Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper is the ideal plant to bring greenery to these difficult spots. Out in the garden itself, there are always shady areas on the north side of hedges or screens, under trees, or in the shade of larger shrubs. Plant this tough plant in those spots, and your problems are over. Now you can have green everywhere, and eliminate those bare, brown areas. If you have a slope, then often the soil can wash away in rain. Because the stems of this plant root into the ground, when planted on a slope it gives good erosion control, as well as looking great. If you have a pathway through a shady area, use it as an edging, to make the path more attractive, and brighten that area of your garden.
Often a lawn will become thin and bare if there is not enough light for it. Instead of staring at those dreary spots, dig them up and plant the Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper instead. It will grow rapidly to fill such spaces. Plant 3 to 4 feet apart, and soon you will have a sparking ocean of white-flecked greenery instead of dreary, dry and brown dirt. If you have ugly features you want to hide, like an old tree stump, or some cracked and broken concrete, surround it with this plant, and soon it will disappear. On top of all this, wintercreeper is very tolerant of harsh, urban conditions, so for a city garden it makes the ideal low-maintenance plant.
The Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper is very easy to grow. It is happy in almost any type of soil, as long as it is not constantly wet, and it grows well in both alkaline or acidic soils. Once established it is moderately drought tolerant, although like most shade-loving plants it benefits from some water during very dry spells. It rarely suffers from pests or diseases and needs no particular care at all. If it should grow too tall, or too wide for the spot you have chosen, then simply trim it back and it will re-sprout in no time. Should it become a little thin or bare, then just do the same, add a little fertilizer, and it will soon be lush and green again.
Wintercreeper, Euonymus fortunei, is a native plant of Japan, China, and south-east Asia, where it grows naturally in woodland areas. It has an interesting way of growing, because young plants in shady spots grow as a vine, with long, trailing branches. When these grow up a tree into the sunlight, the plant becomes bushier, and often produces small, greenish flowers followed by orange seeds inside a beige capsule. Plants of this ‘adult’ type keep their bushy habit, even when planted back into the shade. ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is a plant like this, bushy, but still capable of sending out trailing, climbing stems as well. Plants in sunnier places are more likely to flower, and the seed capsules make an attractive fall feature, although there are not regularly seen. It was only introduced from Japan in 1907, although it is named after Robert Fortune, the famous plant collector, who brought many plants out of Japan in the middle of the 19th century. The variety ‘Emerald Gaiety’ was found in America, although its exact origins have been lost.
Our plants are produced from stem pieces, not from seed, so they have all the exact qualities of this versatile and tough plant. Avoid un-named wintercreeper plants, which can be very variable, and often plain, dull green. The Emerald Gaiety Wintercreeper is always a popular plant with gardeners. After all, we all have awkward shady corners to fill, so our stock will sell out fast. Order now, while stocks last, and turn dull shade into bright emerald greenery.