These shrubs, the species of which hail from Japan, are excellent choices for Sydney gardens, as they look good every day of the year and get better and better as each year passes. Shrubby Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo-variegatus' (ht 1.5-3 m) is one of my all-time favourite stalwart shrubs, with its glossy green leaves with a yellow centre. It will grow in full sun or light shade and needs little attention once established, and will tolerate dry spells. I have also seen this shrub labelled as Euonymus japonicus 'Mediopictus'. Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo-marginatus' has green leaves with a bright yellow margin. The cultivar names are rather vexed so I am not sure if I have them correct!
It looks effective grown near to golden foliage shrubs such as the Duranta shown in the photo above. I also like to grow yellow flowers nearby to echo the variegation of its leaves: Reinwardtia indica - sometimes known as linum, is a pretty, winter-flowering small shrub that is a perfect companion. Yellow jonquils also look effective growing around it.
A white-variegated version that I have is called 'Albo-marginatus' and it is also a very good shrub, especially for partly shaded areas of the garden. It seems a more compact shrub, growing to just 1 m tall, It can be grown with shade-loving white-flowered plants such as white Justicia carnea or white cane Begonia to echo its leaf variegation. Keep an eye out for branches of Euonymus japonicus cultivars that revert to all-green leaves: remove these to keep the variegation strong - otherwise these vigorous all-green shoots, which contain more chlorophyll, will take over the plant. I also trim off any untidy stems in late winter and feed the shrubs at the same time with a general purpose food. They can be propagated by cuttings taken in autumn. Euonymus belong to the Celastraceae family of plants.