Why Is My Euonymus Dying? [And What To Do About It]

Euonymus bushes can make for beautiful outdoor plants and work perfectly in front yards, backyards, or sidewalks. But what do you do if you find that your Euonymus bush is dying? Can it be revived? We have researched the answers to these questions, and in this post, we will go over them.

The most common reasons why Euonymus die are fungus and pest infection. If your plant is dying, it's best to get rid of the infection, prune the plant, and place it in the environment so that it may recover.

Euonymus shrubs are the perfect plant to use as accent plants or hedges along your front yard. And while they are relatively easy to grow and maintain, they can quickly become riddled with pest infestations and fungal infections if not monitored regularly. Continue reading to learn how to determine if your Euonymus shrub is dying and how to revitalize it.

Euonymus japanese microfillus. Close-up of a beautiful fresh bush branch with green and light yellow leaves, the background is blurred, Why Is My Euonymus Dying? [And What To Do About It]

Common Issues With Euonymus Plant

Crown Gall 

This particular bacteria attacks the tree at the root and just below its soil, quickly eating away at its bark. The galls may appear fleshy and even look like small pieces of cauliflower when they are very young. However, they can quickly grow, spreading up the tree's bark, turning into hard cork-like growths. T

he best way to get rid of these galls is to simply prune them away when you see them. If you need to remove the soil from the tree, be sure to replace any infected soil with fresh new soil.

Powdery Mildew

If you notice powdery mildew on your Euonymus tree's leaves, it's typically a sign of infection. The mildew will usually form on the lower or top surface of the leaves, and it'll also affect any new shoots that grow in the springtime. The presence of the mildew will cause the shoots to grow stunted or twisted, leaving if infected leaves to fall.

The spores from the mildew can travel in the wind and spread from plant to plant if you don't treat the infection. Shrubs that receive too much shade are especially susceptible to mildew. When the temperatures are anywhere from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, shaded leaves are at extreme risk. The best way to get rid of it is to prune the plant.

You can also apply a fungicide if the infection is extensive. Lastly, watering the plant during mid-morning can help to wash off any spores from the leaves, as the afternoon sun will give them time to dry.


Not all, but some euonymus varieties can be easily infected by the scalp fungus. The fungus will quickly spread across the plant, causing it to become disfigured and develop small gray circles on the stems and leaves.

If left untreated, these spots will grow bigger and start to merge together. The best way to prevent them from growing is to use a copper-based fungicide as soon as you recognize signs of scab.

Find this copper-based fungicide on Amazon.

Sooty Mold

Sooty mold doesn't directly infect euonymus plants. It does, however, grow on the honeydew left from the insects that feed on the plant. The sticky residue secreted by the insects, including mealybugs, whiteflies, and soft scale insects, can cause the infestation to grow rather quickly.

When it does, the sooty mold will spread over the entire stems and foliage. This growth will make the Euonymus plant appear withered and gray.

The best way to prevent this is to control the insects using an insecticide or rinse the plant with water every 2-4 days. If there is a heavy infestation, it's best to prune away any areas to prevent spreading to other places.

You can also use an insecticide such as neem oil or horticultural oil to get rid of the insects. Once the insects have been cleared up, the sooty mold will dry out and wither away. To speed this process up, simply rinse the plant off with soapy water.

Click here to Neem Oil on Amazon.

Phytophthora Blight

This soil-based fungus attacks the plant from the roots up to the bark of the tree. If you live in an area with heavy rainfall, the disease can quickly spread across the plant via the water, eventually infecting the bark, roots, and leaves.

The infection will cause any new shoots to quickly dry up and die, and the plant's leaves will become infected. The best way to prevent it is to keep the plant pruned and use a fungicide until the infection is gone.

How do you rejuvenate Euonymus?

Lush foliage host with white edges in the garden. Euonymus japonica

Whether the plant is recovering from neglect or fungus issues, the best way to rejuvenate it is to provide it with loads of TLC. There are various ways to do this but let's look at a multi-pronged approach to restoring the plant's health.

Initiate a pruning regimen

Cutting back the shrubs will help to produce fresh foliage and branches. The ideal time to do this is during early spring or late winter, allowing you to take advantage of the plant's growth cycle. When pruning the plant, be sure to use sharp, sterile pruning shears and always cut at least 7 to 24 inches above where the soil meets the bottom of the trunk.

Remove any damaged or broken branches as well as any crossing branches. After the pruning session, be sure to monitor the tree over the next 2 to 3 weeks to ensure that it is making its way back to health.

Find these pruning shears on Amazon.

Temperature and Sunlight

Euonymus plants grow best in areas that have sunlight or only partial shade. Be sure to place the plant in a location away from vents or drafty areas, as these plants will struggle to revitalize themselves if they are in cold or windy conditions.

Overall, they tend to prefer warmer climates--anywhere from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Even nighttime temperatures beneath 40 degrees Fahrenheit can damage the plant, so you may want to keep a thermometer in the plant's location just to be on the safe side.

Hydration and Feeding

These plants don't require much water, even during a period of revitalization. Overwatering the plant can cause it to develop root rot. The best thing to do to ensure that it's hydrated is to water it once a week.

There are times where the plant may need more watering, primarily if it is located in a sunny area in the home. Always test the moisture level of the soil before adding water, however. If the soil is damp, wait a few more days before adding water.

However, if the soil is crumbly or dry, it's likely due for a watering session. The Euonymus prefers well-drained soil and a bit on the dry side. So with this plant, it's easy to overwater it, even if it is in a period of recovery.

When it comes to feeding a multi-purpose organic soil blend compost is best. The best times to add the compost during its growing seasons which is between June and September.

Why are my euonymus leaves falling off?

The most common reasons why leaves may fall off of the euonymus plant are a scale infestation or environmental stress. For example, a scale infestation causes the leaves to drop, worsening if the condition is not treated. And if the plant is exposed to a harsh winter, you may also notice some additional leaf droppings.

Does Euonymus need sun or shade?

Euonymus plants require different sun exposures based on the variety. That being stated, most will need at least partial to full sun to thrive. For example, golden Euonymus can tolerate shade fairly well and will generally thrive better than many other varieties with less sun exposure. It's also worth noting that the plant's growth will be directly affected by the amount of side that it receives.

Can you hard prune euonymus?

While the best running method will vary by variety, in general, these plants actually need hard pruning so that the foliage grows fully. Sometimes if you don't hard prune the plant, the branches will become too lengthy, and the shoots won't grow with enough force needed to make the plant look dense and mature.

Does Euonymus grow back?

Yes. If you hard prune the plant, the shoots and branches will go back. Even if the plant loses leaves due to a harsh winter, it will grow back during the spring season, granted the plant is in good shape.

Wrapping Things Up

Euonymus japanese microfillus. Close-up of a beautiful fresh bush branch with green and light yellow leaves, the background is blurred, Why Is My Euonymus Dying? [And What To Do About It]

There are over a hundred and fifty varieties of Euonymus that can be hardy. However, if you find that your plant is dying, the chances are that it suffers from a fungal, bacterial, or past infection. Nailing down the source of the issue is the best way to revitalize your plant so that it can make a full recovery.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How Far Apart To Plant Schefflera?

How To Overwinter Gardenia – In Pots And In Ground


  1. I have had my Varigated Japonica in a large pot for 5 years. It faces South east. the leave edges are starting to brown, some have gone totally brown. Could I have over watered the plant.

    Your help would be appreciated.

    Anthony Hartley

  2. Help, not sure what has happened to my potted euonymous. All leaves dried and fallen/falling off…I think it could be lack of water as been on holiday for 2 weeks. Will it recover, how do I prune etc Any advice welcome

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