Elaeagnus angustifolia, a beautiful and fast-growing shrub

Elaeagnus angustifolia

Elaeagnus angustifolia is a lovely, fast-growing shrub. Its leaves and fruits remind you of an olive tree’s.

Key Elaeagnus angustifolia facts:

Name: Elaeagnus angustifolia
Family: Elaeagnacea
Height: 6.5 to 13 feet (2 to 4 meters)
Exposure: sun to part shade
Soil: ordinary

Foliage: deciduous  –  Blooming: spring  –  Fruiting: fall

Great for hedges or stand-alone spots, Elaeagnus angustifolia is low-maintenance and quite ornamental.

Caution! Invasive in some places!

Planting Elaeagnus angustifolia

Planting Elaeagnus angustifoliaIt’s best to plant Elaeagnus angustifolia in fall. However, planting it anytime works if you’ve got a potted one. If you’re planting in winter or summer, avoid freezing or super hot days.

  • For hedges, keep at least 3 feet between shrubs.
  • Always go for well-drained soil and check out our planting tips.
  • Remember to water generously during its first year.

Elaeagnus angustifolia can sometimes become overly invasive. In fact, some US states labeled it an invasive species.

Elaeagnus angustifolia grows quickly, giving you a cozy spot of shade in summer.

Pruning and caring for Elaeagnus

How to care for elaeagnus angustifoliaIf you’re looking to make it denser or boost its growth, consider lightly pruning this shrub in its early years, cutting back about 1/3 of the previous year’s shoots.Elaeagnus angustifolia handles pruning well. Keep an eye out and remove any offshoots or young shoots around the tree as they pop up.

  • You can prune Elaeagnus angustifolia in early spring or fall.
  • It stands up well to all pruning forms, even severe ones.
  • You can also shape it differently, like a ball, without hindering its growth.

Possible Elaeagnus angustifolia problems:

While generally hardy and frost-resistant, Elaeagnus angustifolia can be susceptible to certain fungi causing verticillium wilt. It’s quite rare, though.

It also sometimes suffers from chlorosis, leading to leaf yellowing and then decay.

Getting to know Elaeagnus angustifolia

A common name is russian oliveBoth frost-resistant and stunningly aesthetic with its golden or silver hues, Elaeagnus angustifolia is making a comeback as a garden favorite. Known as the Russian olive, it’s a fantastic shade tree and perfect for crafting wild hedges. It grows much faster than the normal olive tree.

You’ll love its scented flowers and edible fruits. While a bit mealy, they’re best cooked or dried. Highly attractive to bees, its flowers make top-quality honey. Come spring, enjoy its gentle, aromatic bloom. By fall, you’ll see yellow and silver fruits, edible for us and a treat for birds.

Beautiful... but invasiveElaeagnus angustifolia, though beautiful, should not be planted everywhere.

  • It is indeed an invasive weed in many places, including most of the United States.
  • It’s quite difficult to control, though new biological methods are appearing.

So before planting, check whether you are allowed to or not. Sometimes even garden stores aren’t aware, so remember to inform them if you discover they’re selling when they oughtn’t.

Advice for Elaeagnus angustifolia

Perfectly resistant to sea sprays and wind, Elaeagnus angustifolia shines as a top pick for coastal locations.

Images: CC BY 2.0: Maja Dumat, CC BY-SA 2.0: Andreas Rockstein, Groume; Public Domain: USDA NRCS Montana