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How to Grow a Burning Bush Plant

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017
Growing a burning bush shrub
leaves of the shrub image by GeoM from Fotolia.com

The burning bush, Euonymus alatus, is a deciduous shrub known for its brilliant red foliage in the fall. The shrub grows to 9 feet tall when not pruned. Burning bush shrubs, hardy in USDA growing zones 4 through 8, produces dense foliage and branches, is low maintenance and is easy to grow.

Select a planting location for the burning bush that has well-draining soil and full to partial light. The shrub will grow in most soil types as long as water does not pool around the base.

Plant the shrub in a hole twice the width of the container it came in and at the same depth. Place the shrub into the hole making sure the top of the root ball is even with the ground. Mix an equal portion of peat moss into the removed soil and gently pack it around the root ball.

Water the shrub generously after planting. Continue to water the shrub during the growing season to keep the soil moist when rainfall amounts are less than 1 inch per week. The plant will tolerate dry conditions but will perform better by keeping the soil evenly moist during the growing season as the roots grow close to the surface.

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the base of the shrub, leaving a 3-inch gap between the start of the mulch and the base of the shrub. This will assist with weed control and moisture retention.

Fertilize young plants with a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage root growth. Apply the fertilizer at the time of planting and once a month during the summer growing season. Fertilize mature shrubs with a balanced fertilizer yearly at the start of the growing season.

Prune the burning bush shrub to remove dead or damaged branches and shape the plant into the desired size. Remove branches from the inside and outside of the shrub to keep the shape even. Do not remove more than 1/3 of the branches during one pruning session.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • High phosphorus fertilizer
  • Pruning clipper


  • Keep the soil moist and apply several fertilizer treatments during the growing season to increase the shrub's growth rate.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.