Mine are not the only euonymus (pron. you-ON-i-mus) plants in town. Many people have these stately shrubs, but theirs don’t have berries. Mine do. It was partly the beauty of these berries that drew me to the plants when I first saw them for sale this summer. While my husband immediately keyed in on the variegated leaves, I loved the tiny white orbs scattered amongst the green, ivory-edged foliage.But in mid-November, I noticed something curious. The berry husks were taking on a purplish tinge. Soon the orange berries themselves were poking out from inside, some displaying sharply pointed tips. Now, as Christmas approaches, the purple has grown darker, more insistent, and ever more lovely. Who needs to decorate the fir trees outside when these berries are as striking as any ornaments?
But why do my plants alone have berries?
For the answer, I turned to Gilbert Resendez at Monrovia, the plant company. In short, it seems I am an untidy gardener. According to Resendez, this bush (full name, Euonymus japonicus “Chollipo”) is usually trimmed very tight for use as a hedge or border. In the process, the flowers are pruned off each spring before the berries have had a chance to form. He politely says my bushes are growing “in a natural untrimmed form.” And I’m so glad they are.
I was already delighted with the color-shifting berries. Now I apparently have flowers to look forward to next spring. According to Resendez, they will be “perfect flowers” with both male (stamen) and female (pistil) reproductive parts on each self-pollinating blossom.