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Plant Profile: Silverberry (Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Gilt Edge’)

Variegated plants have a special gift for lighting up a dark area but this silverberry goes beyond that. The underside of its yellow and green leaves are covered with silvery dots that reflect the sunlight and make them sparkle. The leaves persist through the winter and add beauty to the garden at a time when most other plants are sleeping. Put this lovely shrub against a dark green conifer and let it shine. True, the flowers are tiny, but they are fragrant and attract butterflies and bees. The red fruits that ripen in summer are attractive to birds. Added to all this is the fact that ‘Gilt Edge’ is tough and needs little maintenance. It tolerates heat, wind and salt spray, and is drought tolerant once established.  Foliage is nice in flower arrangements.

Type: Evergreen shrub.

Outstanding Feature: Silvery variegated foliage.

Form: Round.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Bloom: Clusters of tiny, silvery white flowers are produced in late fall into winter.

Size: 8’ H x 10’ W.

Light: Sun to partial shade.

Soil: Average, well drained.

Fertilizer: Apply all-purpose fertilizer in spring before new leaves appear.

Hardiness: Zones 7-10.

Care: Shear to shape.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance.

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings; seed.

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