November plant of the month

An exquisite spindle that couldn't be easier to grow

Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'There is nothing quite like a bright and sunny autumn day to lift the mood, with vibrant, fiery shades everywhere you look. Many trees and shrubs look stunning at this time, however the favourites this year with the garden visitors are the spindles (Euonymus). Several plantings in the woodland look superb, especially when they’re sat in front of the deep shades of the evergreens around them.

The ones that are really stealing the show though, are those outside the Learning Centre. Here you’ll find Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’ planted as a small group on the corner of the bed, giving structure and bold, long lasting colour to the area. Through spring and summer they are a healthy green, but from late August or early September this begins to change, starting with purplish tones getting richer and redder as the weeks progress, and by late October they are the most intense red. This continues for several weeks into late November before the leaves finally fall, revealing the delightful, naturally rounded shape of the shrub.

Euonymus alatus 'Compactus'Best colour is, as always, achieved by planting in a situation where they get lots of sun. When planted in shade they still provide an impressive show, but this tends to be more subtle with beautiful shades of lemon through to pinks and reds.

A naturally compact and slow-growing shrub, it is probably the ultimate in low maintenance, requiring no pruning or attention of any kind, except for watering in the first summer after planting.

See also

Find out about Euonymus carnosus, Hyde Hall's plant of the month

Discover more of the seasonal highlights of Harlow Carr

Choose the perfect plants for your garden with RHS Find-a-plant

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