Elaeagnus – silverberry or sometimes called wild olive, is a genus of about 45 species of deciduous or evergreen shrubs or trees mainly from Russia, that are found growing in thickets and dry areas. They are fast growing, wind resistant plants that grow well in poor soils. Eleagnus augustifolia can be very invasive and are banned in some parts of USA.

There are a number of Elaeagnus species suitable for use as bonsai including Eleagnus multiflora that is a deciduous shrub with leaves that are green on top and silver below. Elaeagnus pungens, a dense, spiny shrub with dark-green leaves which can be used for bonsai.

Elaeagnus plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs or small trees. The alternate leaves and the shoots are usually covered with tiny silvery to brownish scales, giving the plants a whitish to grey-brown colour from a distance. The flowers are small, with a four-lobed calyx and no petals; they are often fragrant.

Bonsai advice: Grow in full sun or partial shade and provide frost protection below -5 °C.

Feed regularly throughout the growing season and repot every two or three years in Spring as new buds extend .Carry out hard pruning in Winter and trim new shoots as they appear throughout the growing season.

They are susceptible to coral spot.

Eleagnus shrub


Eleagnus in flower

Examples of Eleagnus as bonsai.


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