Garrya elliptica (Silk Tassel Bush)

This is an erect bushy shrub roughly 4metres in height ans spread but can be hard pruned and kept smaller. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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In January and February the dark green leaves of Garrya are set off by the myriad grey-green male catkins. An erect and bushy shrub with multiple divided stems and branches which give it a loose spherical form. Growing to roughly 4m in height and spread, it does respond well to hard pruning and can be kept far smaller.

What’s really nice about Garrya elliptica are the slightly convex leaves, wavy at the margins and with a waxy gloss. The unusual curvature of each leaf throws light around the shrub in a subtly striking manner and it’s a great one for injecting contrast and complex texture into a border of mixed evergreens. Here it will sit handsomely among similarly glossy but heftier companions like Mahonia and Fatsia. Plant some twinkly Euonymus at the bottom for the tassels to tickle.

Yes, the tassels: what’s really nice about Garrya are the skeins of catkins which festoon the whole shrub in grey green brocade from December and well into the new year. Beloved by florists but we like to leave them on.

Its dense form and foliage coupled with an unfussy disposition with regard to soil and position makes for a first-class plant. Originally from coastal California and south Oregon it is happy in sun or shade in any soil and in any aspect.



N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.


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