It’s interesting how some plants are everywhere and others are hard to find in garden centers. The sad truth is that some very worthy plants just don’t make it into the market place. Our native Euonymus americanus, also called Hearts-a-Bustin, is just such a plant. I fell in love with this shrub when I saw it at the North Carolina Botanical Garden on a GWA annual symposium tour. I always come away from these garden tours with some why-didn’t-I-know-about-this-before? plants, and hearts-a-bustin won my heart immediately.

I read that this native shrub can grow tall, and sucker to the sides a bit as well. I also discovered that deer are known to love the foliage. Since I live where Bambi grazes, that told me that this might be the perfect plant to put down in an area of the landscape where I’m fine with deer grazing, not up in my flower and veggie gardens. The theory was to plant this in an area where I want Bambi to stay, in hopes of keeping deer away from the rest of the property.

After an extended internet search I found some small plants (at Rare Find Nursery I think) and ordered three which were planted down near a field. This area gets no suplemental water but they have nevertheless survived in part-shade, and after about five years are five feet tall. I love the pale color of the fall foliage, which makes the bursting heart seed pods even more striking. I love the green, upright stems and how open these plants are. This would be the perfect shrub for someone who wants a plant that does a bit of softening but is also see-though and airy.

This native Euonymus has won my heart…and so far the deer haven’t touched them.

If you have Euonymus americanus, start some of the seeds and share it with others!

If you have Euonymus americanus, start some of the seeds and share it with others!

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