Spindle tree
Family Celastraceae
Around 170 species, many species and hybrids. They make good ornamental plants.
Can be trained as a topiary or hedge; as a tub specimen, or in a bed amongst other shrubs for foliage colour (variegated foliage forms are stunning when contrasted against a backdrop of other foliage colours).
Good against a wall or fence as an espalier or as a full bush if space allows. Suitable for cold gardens, seaside gardens, shady dry gardens.
Slightly tender deciduous and evergreen shrubs, with clusters of small greenish or purplish flowers.


Grows well in most soils, but prefers sandy soils. Will not tolerate waterlogged soils. Needs moisture to establish, after which can tolerate short periods of dryness.

Most will withstand some frost; but in very cold areas, is best kept protected.


Irrigate and mulch if in a hotter or drier climate. Prune as is required to shape the plant.

Propagate by tip semi hardwood cuttings.

There are few pest or disease problems; occasionally anthracnose, leaf spots, crown gall, powdery mildew dieback (fungal) aphids, thrip or scale.



E. alatus -to 1m tall, deciduous, corky bark, attractive autumn foliage.


E. europeus (syn E. europea) -deciduous, attractive autumn foliage, to 3m tall, scarlet berries, blood red fruit pod.


E. Fortunei -a semi climbing shrub that can get to over 5m tall. Many varieties are available including a wide range of cultivars which get no taller than 1.5m. Many of these varieties exhibit distinct and very attractive foliage variations.

E. Fortunei gracilis – variegated foliage, frequently clipped into a tight hedge.


E. japonicus (syn E. japonica) -1 to 1.8m tall, depending on cultivar and where it is grown. There are many different cultivars mostly grown for glossy variegated foliage, however the pattern and colour of variegation is variable.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.