Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Limelight’
At this time of the year a splash of colour is always welcome in the garden and evergreen shrubs are perfect for year-round interest. By planting a selection of different types of evergreens with a mixture of leaf colour and shape, you can easily add colour and structure into the winter garden.
One evergreen shrub that is guaranteed to brighten up a dull day is Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Limelight’, with leathery leaves that are marked with yellow and pale green. It’s a tough shrub that will grow in full sun or semi-shade and is ideal for planting in an exposed situation. As for size, it can grow to around 3m (10ft) tall and wide when planted in good, fertile soil, but please don’t let that put you off as it responds well to an annual prune in spring to maintain its size and shape. If it does grow too large, it can be hard pruned and will soon regrow from the old wood. Although mainly grown for its attractive foliage, small, cream-coloured scented flowers are produced on the underside of the branches in autumn. The long new growth is also perfect for cutting and using as greenery with bunches of flowers.
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he chooses a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.