Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and ‘Emerald Gold’ are 2 very common shrubs. In many ways the two are similar in form. You’ll often see both used as a low, mounded shrub either at the front of a garden or as an area groundcover.
Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ has the distinct capability to climb when planted next to a structure.
In this first picture is ‘Emerald Gaiety’ and further down the stone wall is ‘Emerald Gold’.
The loose, straggley growth on top is typical and perhaps in a larger open space this “wildness” would be OK. For example, used on a slope as a groundcover this “rambling” habit would be great.
However, in other gardens you may want to prune for a neater look. In this situation the Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is overpowering the azalea behind it. Let’s bring it back to scale, but keep that natural form.
How To Prune
As always, the best method of pruning any plant to maintain a “natural” appearance is to prune “selectively” – that is, by hand, single cuts with hand pruners.
Some of you are probably saying, “Are you kidding, I have too many to prune selectively”. I hear you. There’s a point of practicality where you have to make a judgement call. In this case it’s not the end of the world if you shear the plants to make a monstrous task more doable.
Select the longest growth that extends beyond the main body of the plant and follow it down into the plant. There, among the denser growth make your cut just above a leaf or lateral branch.
This last picture shows the Euonymus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ after it was pruned selectively. Notice how the “natural” form was maintained, but the plant is neater and more in scale with the azalea behind it.