In the genus Elaeagnus are several dozen species of shrubs and trees from thickets and dry places, mainly in Asia. They provide silvery or frosted leaves, fragrant flowers, and edible (sometimes colorful) fruit to the garden. Use as specimens, in a border, or as hedging.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsSilvery leaves; fragrant flowers; edible berries. Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) is invasive in the northeastern, southeastern, and midwestern United States.
CareTolerant of most soil types, including dry, as long as it is fertile and well-drained. Elaeagnus prefer full sun, but evergreens grow well in partial shade as well.
PropagationStart from seed in autumn using a cold frame, or take greenwood cuttings in late spring or early summer. Deciduous species can be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings in midsummer. Evergreens may be grafted in late winter or started from semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Remove suckers from deciduous plants in fall.
ProblemsCankers, dagger nematodes, dieback, rust, fungal leaf spots, and root rot are all common troubles.