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Plant Profile: Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’

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Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’ Offers Much for Mixed Garden Borders!

Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’ solves many challenges gardeners face. So what are some of the benefits of adding Gilt Edge Silverberry bushes to your garden?

Evergreen Shrub Elaeagnus Gilt Edge in Mixed Border

Evergreen Shrub Elaeagnus Gilt Edge in Mixed Border with Diablo Ninebark, Rhododendrons, Laceleaf Japanese Maple and more — like Ballard Bee Company honeybee hives!

First, this woody shrub is a relatively slow grower. So it only puts on a few inches of growth each year. But it can get big over time. Although labels may say matures to 4′-5′ tall, I have seen specimens that look more like large evergreen trees. So give it lots of room.

Second, the green and bright yellow leaves of Gilt Edge Elaeagnus can tolerate quite a bit of sun. Actually it may do better in full sun than in shade. However, it also grows great in dark, shaded spots in winter. But that’s true only if those areas get sun the rest of the year.

And that solves a big problem in winter. Since there isn’t as much brightness in winter, gardens look extra dark. So bright leaves on Gilt Edge Elaeagnus can keep your garden brighter and cheerful even on the gloomiest, short days. In fact, they even glow in moonlight and reflected snow.

Third, the fragrance can be a welcome surprise. That’s because this shrub blooms in fall. And it smells a bit like apricot. But, the blooms are tiny. So you may not see much of them. But if you have hummingbirds in your garden, they’ll seek out the nectar from Elaeagus flowers. However, be patient, it may take a few years before your shrub begins to bloom.

Tips for Integrating Gilt Edge Elaeagnus into Garden Borders…

This plant makes quite a statement. And that’s because it bears brilliant, multi-colored leaves. So take care combining it with other “busy” looking foliage. That’s because too much mixing of variegation can create a jumbled garden eyesore.

Suggestions for Adding Variegation to Your Borders…

Gilt Edge Elaeagnus combined with solid green ferns and contrasting purples or reds can make for a gorgeous look.

Too, adding vertical art forms dappled into the round growth habit and oblong leaf forms of this plant helps both the shrub AND the art stand out.

Gilt Edge Elaeagnus

Gilt Edge Elaeagnus combines beautifully with vertical glass art

Gilt Edge Silverberry Shrub Warnings…

Elaeagnus does have a couple of potentially detracting features.

First, it is fairly slow growing, so have patience; this baby’s worth it.

Second, it does grow thorns on its woody stems. But, it doesn’t put on a lot of them like a barberry. Still, be watchful for them.

Third, in spring, when the new growth emerges, this shrub kind of looks like something is seriously wrong with it. The new leaves are speckled and have a silvery tone to them that some mistake for pest damage and die-back beginning to happen. Really, this is just its awkward phase. So those new leaves will metamorphose into their gorgeous mature form in just a few days.

Tips to Care for this Shrub…

Very little is required to care for this shrub. Prune it as you would any woody tree-like plant. However, that does not mean shear it. And over time, any shaded interior branches will defoliate. So this will grow into more of a tree-like form, over time.

Since this plant struggles in very cold temperatures, remove any frost damaged leaves and branches in spring.

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