A group of deciduous and evergreen hardy shrubs, usually grown for their attractive foliage. Evergreen varieties provide good all-year-round interest. Especially the variegated forms, which can be used to brighten up the winter garden.
Tolerates cold gardens, exposed coastal regions and pollution. A useful focal shrub or hedging plant. Excellent for use as screening in exposed areas.
Evergreen varieties produce small insignificant fragrant white flowers in either spring or autumn. The flowers of deciduous varieties are often followed by attractive berries.
Originates from Asia, southern Europe and North America.
Best planted in an open sunny site but will tolerate semi-shaded. Thrives in any reasonable well-drained, fertile garden soil. Tolerates clay, chalk and dry conditions. Creates an excellent foil for other flowering plants and the attractive foliage is loved by flower arrangers.
An easy-to-grow hardy shrub that is tolerant of most soils and situations, and requires very little care or attention.
Trim back unwanted branches in spring. Avoid removing wood that is more than a few years old. Trim hedges in early and late summer.
On variegated forms, promptly remove any green reverted shoots to keep the variegated format.
Take semiripe cuttings in July or hardwood cuttings in November and root in a propagator or cold frame. Alternatively take rooted suckers were available.
For example, 4in (100mm) hardwood cuttings of Elaeagnus pungens can be rooted fairly successfully in pots of well drained sandy soil, in a propagating frame, at at even temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F).
Deciduous species are best propagated by seed sown in spring.
Many varieties are available with a good range of leaf colour and variegations.
Elaeagnus pungens 'Maculata'. One of the most popular varieties. Dark evergreen green leaves with attractive yellow/gold splashes. Height: 12ft (4m). Spread: 10-15ft (3-4.5m).
Elaeagnus x ebbingei is a fast-growing evergreen shrub with large leaves that have a silvery underside. Fragrant silvery flowers appear in autumn followed by orange berries in spring. A tough pollution tolerant shrub that makes an ideal informal hedge or screen. Height and spread: 10-15ft (3-4.5m).
Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive). Tall growing. Deciduous, slender, willow-like, silvery leaves. Height: 25ft (8m )
Elaeagnus commutata is a deciduous variety with silvery leaves and attractive berries. Height 10ft (3m).
Elaeagnus umbellata is spreading deciduous shrub with leathery green leaves that have silvery undersides. Fragrant creamy white flowers appear in late spring/early summer, followed by orange red berries in autumn. Best panted in full sun. Height and spread: 10-15ft (3-4.5m).