The 'Silk Tassel Tree', Garrya elliptica is an evergreen shrub or small tree, aptly named for the cascading tassels or catkins that are a feature in winter.
In the garden you will find most plants reaching 4-5 m in height depending on conditions.
Garrya work well as a feature tree or even as a screening tree. As the tassels appear in winter it makes a wonderful landscaping plant to add a little relief during the colder months.
In larger settings Garrya could be used as an informal hedge.
Growing Conditions for Garrya elliptica
A well drained position is essential, however Garrya does cope well in full sun to part shade and also seem to grow well in poor coastal soils. Frost and wind are the two main problems, both can cause leaf damage.
We have found that hellebores seem to be one plant that grows well beneath the garrya. However many gardeners prefer just to mulch.
Pruning Garrya elliptica
Garrya need little pruning other than to keep in shape. It is best to prune in early spring after the 'tassels 'or 'catkins' have lost their looks a little and before new growth commences.
Generally some light shaping will be enough, however older plants can be cut back fairly hard if regeneration is needed. It is best to hard prune in stages over 3-4 years if possible.
Problems, Diseases And Pests
Garrya in general suffer from few problems given good drainage and protection from strong wind and frosts. Good airflow will help prevent fungal diseases.
Brown leaves are often caused by cold winters and frosts.
Cultivars And Varieties
Garrya elliptica 'James Roof' and the slightly more compact 'Evie' are the two most widely grown.