A Deer-Resistant, Evergreen Shrub!
Elaeagnus (pronounced “ellie agnus”) are a group of sturdy, fast-growing evergreen shrubs that are drought-tolerant once established, make a good addition to a firewise garden, and work beautifully as a screen or a hedge. Some species even fix nitrogen in the soil!
These qualities alone would make Elaeagnus a ‘must have’ plant in your garden. But what we really love about them is that they’re one of the very few evergreen shrubs we’ve found that seems able to resist the depredations of deer here in the Rogue Valley. Maybe it’s the tough leaves; maybe it’s the small thorns on the stems. But so far (knocking wood, fingers crossed…) deer mostly seem to leave them alone.
Elaeagnus grow well in full sun or with a little light shade, but sun-grown plants will be fuller and denser. In fall, small cream-colored intensely fragrant flowers appear – followed by small reddish berries. The berries are generally too small for humans to bother with, but birds enjoy them. In fact, they’re a nice source of food that helps migrating and overwintering birds lay on a fat store to survive the winter months.
Shooting Star Nursery generally carries the following varieties of Elaeagnus:
‘Fruitlandii’ Rich olive-green leaves covered with small silver scales (shown above). Plants reach 6’ to 10’ tall and wide at maturity, but may be kept a bit smaller with careful pruning.
‘Clemson Variegated’ Lovely gold-centered leaves with dark green margins. About 10’ by 10’ at maturity.
‘Gilt Edge’ Coloring is the reverse of ‘Clemson Variegated’; dark green leaves with rich gold edges. Smaller than the two varieties above – roughly 5’ tall and wide at maturity.
‘Hosoba Fukurin’ Similar to ‘Gilt Edge’, but the leaves have cream-colored margins rather than golden yellow ones. 4-'5 tall and wide, with extremely fragrant autumn flowers.