Golden euonymus constitutes a cultivar of evergreen euonymus (Euonymus japonicus "Aureo-marginata"). The shrub, native to Asia, appears in outdoor gardens and indoor growth environments alike. Gardeners in Japan, China and Korea have cultivated varieties of the plant for many years. Evergreen euonymus and its many cultivars exhibit glossy, leathery foliage year-round in USDA zones 7 though 9. Golden euonymus grows in many gardening conditions, including shade.
Evergreen euonymus cultivars such as golden euonymus tolerate many growing conditions, including sun and shade exposure. Golden euonymus tolerates full sun to full shade. Gardeners with all types of shade exposure can grow golden euonymus, as can indoor growers. Growing golden euonymus in containers allows growers to move specimens in and out of the shade based on the needs of the plant. While golden euonymus tolerates shade, it grows differently in sun exposure than it does in deep shade.
Five primary garden light patterns exist: full sun, light shade, partial shade, full shade and dense shade. Full sun means six hours or more of direct sunlight each day. Light shade means three to five hours of direct sun during the summer, while partial shade means two hours or less of direct sun each day. Full shade means less than an hour of sun exposure each day, while dense shade means only indirect, filtered sunlight. Some sources report that golden euonymus tolerates dense shade, while others say it only tolerates full shade. When planting golden euonymus in dense shade, place it in a container in case the site provides insufficient sunlight.
When grown in full sun exposure, golden euonymus forms a dense, oval-shaped shrub. When grown in shade, the plant spreads more to find light and expresses a more hectic, decentralized growth pattern. Evergreen euonymus varieties exhibit little cold tolerance. When grown in temperate areas, plants may require direct sunlight as a source of warmth. Only grow golden euonymus in full shade in temperate regions in a container for easy mobility.
Euonymus species in general exhibit little drought tolerance. When planting euonymus, be wary of how sun exposure and soil moisture relate to one another. For instance, full sun exposure in dry areas may exacerbate drought conditions. Full shade often means plants grow beneath larger plants. Large plants block rainfall or out-compete euonymus for water resources. Always provide adequate moisture.
The Emerald and Gold cultivar of the species Euonymus fortunei exhibits variegated foliage. Shrubs of this type display shades of green and gold on one leaf. Euonymus fortunei exhibits identical shade tolerance to evergreen euonymus.