Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica

If you are looking for a tree that adds interest to the garden in winter, is easy care and requires little water once established then Garrya elliptica could be the one for you. And it is the flowering time that makes this such a useful plant in gardens across the country.

You can get both male and female plants, and the catkins will differ. The female catkins are followed by small berries and are said to be prettier. However the male catkins are longer and you do not get the berries, which can be an advantage.

And after its winter show, it also makes a great backdrop for other plants through summer and fall.

Garrya elliptica is a widely used shrub or small evergreen tree native to Oregon and California. A bushy evergreen tree or shrub grown for graceful silvery catkins, which appear during winter and spring.

Foliage is rounded green and quite tough, however it really is the flowers or ‘catkins’ that appear to cover the tree in late winter that make this such a garden worthy plant.


General Care

Garrya elliptica are tolerant of a range of conditions and are generally a hardy plant. Some protection from extremely cold winds is desirable.

  • Good draining soil.
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Protect from hard frosts to prevent foliage damage
  • Water well through the first two summers.
  • Stake new plants to provide support until the root system is established
  • Pruning is not required and not usually recommended (see below)
  • Best suited to USDA zones 4-9

Pruning Garrya elliptica

Although these wonderful trees not not require regular pruning you can remove any dead or damaged wood at any time of the year.

With a natural growth habit that attractive, Garrya eliptica is best left unpruned in most cases.

If you are looking at creating a denser small tree you can commence tip pruning at an early age. However we rarely like the results of this sort of pruning.


  • The form Garrya Elliptica ‘Evie’ is a compact form, more suited to coastal conditions than some others.

  • Garrya Elliptica ‘James Roof’ is a strong vigorous form of the Silk Tassel Tree reaching 4m with a spread of 4m. Extra long catkins to 20 cm in winter.