How to grow eleagnus

How to grow eleagnus

Find out how to grow salt-tolerant eleagnus, in our detailed Grow guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do not Plant in April

Do not Plant in May

Do not Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do Plant in December


Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Elaeagnus is sometimes underrated. It’s certainly not a showy shrub, although the foliage is often attractively variegated. The flowers are hard to spot, but they are beautifully scented and will definitely turn your head as you look for the source of the heady aroma. Elaeagnus are good structural plants, in particular the evergreen varieties, and they work well as a hedging choice. But one of their biggest selling points is that they are very salt tolerant, so make a reliable choice for coastal gardens.


Where to grow eleagnus

How to grow eleagnus - where to grow eleagnus
How to grow eleagnus – where to grow eleagnus

Elaeagnus grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They are tough plants and can cope with a range of soil types, including dry soil. They work well as a hedge or planted near a bench where the scented flowers can be appreciated.

How to plant eleagnus

Plant elaeagnus in autumn if buying bare-root plants or at any time if pot grown.

How to propagate eleagnus

Propagate elaeagnus by taking semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Growing eleagnus: problem solving

Elaeagnus is generally pest free but can be affected by coral spot or fungal leaf spot. However, look out for the sap-sucking elaeagnus sucker that will leave sooty mould on the leaves – try to pick off the affected leaves.

How to care for eleagnus

Elaeagnus are relatively easy to care for. To maintain the desired shape, cut back after flowering and mulch annually with compost.

Elaeagnus varieties to try

How to grow eleagnus - eleagnus varieties to try
How to grow eleagnus – eleagnus varieties to try
  • Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ – a large, deciduous shrub with silvery leaves. It flowers in the summer, but these are hard to spot, although they have a strong, distinctive sweet fragrance.
  • Elaeagnus pungens ‘Maculata’ – this large, evergreen cultivar has golden leaves with large, irregular green margins. It makes a good hedge or screening plant and the foliage looks good for winter floral arrangements.
  • Elaeagnus parviflora – a deciduous shrub or small tree, with silvery foliage and scented, cream flowers, appearing from April to May, followed by red, edible berries.
  • Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’ – an evergreen cultivar with attractive green and gold foliage. Much later flowering, the tiny, intensely scented flowers appear in October, followed by red berries. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
  • Elaeagnus umbellata – this is a large deciduous variety with silvery foliage and small, fragrant flowers in late spring, followed by red fruits.
  • Elaeagnus macrophylla – an evergreen shrub, with young, silvery leaves that turn dark green and typically fragrant flowers in autumn, followed by edible fruits in late spring.