A vigorous evergreen shrub. Notable for its leathery green leaves and abundant catkins that cover the foliage like rain streaks. An unusual plant that is best grown as a wall shrub but can be free standing in a sheltered spot.
Family: Garryaceae (Garrya family)
Botanical Name: Garrya
Common Names: Silk Tassel Bush, feverbush
Foliage: Evergreen, oval or rounded dark green leathery leaves, with waved margins, often grey-woolly beneath.
Flowers: Male forms produce spectacular silky, grey-green catkins, up to 9in (20cm) long. The female catkins are less interesting but are followed by attractive purple-brown fruits, if a male plant is nearby.
Flowering Period: Late winter to early spring.
Soil: Any ordinary well drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Sun or partial shade. Best planted in a sheltered position, such as against a wall.
Habit: Bushy, fast growing.
Type: Large shrub.
Origin: Western North America
Hardiness: Generally hardy in the UK (down to -10°C). It may suffer in severe winters, so provide the protection of a wall in very cold or exposed areas.
A very useful shrub that is tolerant of dry conditions, atmospheric pollution and coastal exposure.
Plant in any well-drained garden soil. Site near a wall in cooler regions. In warmer districts it can be grown as a free standing bush on a sheltered south or west-facing slope.
Water thoroughly during dry weather until well established. Mulch with organic matter in spring and add a smattering of general fertilizer. Do not overfeed.
Pruning is not generally required, except for the removal of unhealthy, dead, diseased and damaged shoots.
Size and spread can be restricted by pruning after flowering. It can be regenerated by cutting back hard in late winter. However, hard pruning can affect flowering for a few seasons.
Generally pest free. May be affected by a leaf spot.
Propagate by layering low-hanging branches in autumn or strike firm 4in (10cm) shoot tip cuttings in summer and root in a propagator.
The main form grown in the UK is G. elliptica. A large bushy evergreen shrub with leathery dark green leaves. Grey-green male catkins appear around January and February. Height to 10ft (3m), spread to 8ft (2.5m)