Golden Elaeagnus: Small Fragrant White Tubular Flowers That Bloom During September

Golden Elaeagnus: Small Fragrant White Tubular Flowers That Bloom During September

Golden ElaeagnusElaeagnus pungens ‘Maculata’ or more commonly referred to as golden elaeagnus is a bushy evergreen shrub, often spiny, with elliptic, dark glossy green leaves with golden-yellow variegation, and small fragrant white tubular flowers borne during September to Octobers in clusters in the leaf axils, and followed by small juicy fruit. This large broadleaf evergreen shrub, which can grow to a height and width of 15 feet if left un-pruned, has a dense spreading habit, forming a symmetrical mound of foliage.

Leaves are arranged in an alternate arrangement, and are simple. Leaves reach a length of 2 to 5 inches with ruffled margins; they have an ovate shape. They are lustrous dark green with a yellow, variable width stripe that runs down the center.

Flowers are perfect (both male and female parts), silvery white. They reach a length of one-fourth inch and are tubular in shape. Fragrant flowers are not showy and hardly seen but their presence is made known in September and October with a powerfully sweet fragrance. Flowers do morph into fruit (though they are uncommon) which turn red and are ripe in late spring, and an attraction to song birds that love the berries.

The stems of golden elaeagnus may develop 3 inch long thorns. Stems and thorns are both covered with brown scales

The rich gold variegation provides a striking addition to a border and is useful for lifting a dull corner of the garden. It can be planted as a hedge and clipped twice a year for a formal finish or trained as a wall shrub.

How To Make Your Golden Elaeagnus Thrive

This tough and adaptable shrub will grow in full sun to deep shade in well-drained soils, although it will tolerate sandy or clay soils if they are not waterlogged. Once established it is drought tolerant, but in competitive situations it appreciates occasional watering during the driest weather. If all-green leaves appear prune out the branch to keep the variegation uniform. In dappled and deep shade it rarely flowers. In sunny locations pruning is best in winter, early spring and early summer to keep from removing flower buds. It is resistant to damage from salt-laden air. It will tolerate a temperature down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

General Golden Eleagnus Information

Pests & Diseases

May be vulnerable to elaeagnus sucker damage, coral spot, or a leaf spot (fungal).


Cuttings from the pungens species of elaeagnus can be difficult to root.  Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in late summer to autumn, selecting material with large, bright shiny leaves. Take 3 to 4 inch cuttings with 2 to 3 nodes and remove all except the top 2 leaves, then wound the bottom inch of the stem and apply bottom heat of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to speed up rooting.  You can take hardwood cuttings from late autumn to late winter, choosing the most vigorous growth you can find for the cutting.  Keep the cuttings in a frost-free, humid environment.

You can also propagate from seed, although the seed may not come true to type. Collect and sow the seeds as they ripen in spring.

Garden Uses

Use as a hedge, or as a screen. It works beautifully in flower borders and beds, in a cottage or informal gardens. Because it is drought resistant it is a good choice for city plantings or in courtyard.  If you let this shrub reach its full height it is excellent for larger scaled gardens in mixed plantings and as a naturalistic screening plant.

Quick Facts

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Foliage Type: Evergreen
  • Flower Color: Cream to off white
  • Flowering Period: October to November
  • Habit: Bushy
  • Plant Height: 15 feet
  • Plant Width: 15 feet
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 6 to 10
  • Fruit: Red in winter
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Water Requirements: Drought tolerant when established
  • Great Color Contrasts: Dark green, blue, burgundy

Photo Search

Google – Golden Elaeagnus Photos

Flicker – Golden Elaeagnus Photos

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