Russian Olive Information: How To Grow An Elaeagnus Shrub

The Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) is one of the most popular ornamental plants in Russia. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they were used for food, medicine, and even as a decoration during the Soviet era.

Today, it’s not uncommon to see them growing wild along roadsides or in gardens throughout Russia.

In fact, there are so many varieties of Russian olive that it would take a book to list all of them. Some are small shrubs with few leaves; some are tall, sprawling vines; and others are even potted up into large pots.

All of these varieties produce edible fruit that is often eaten fresh or dried for medicinal purposes.

How To Grow An Elaeagnus Shrub?

There are several ways to grow an elaeagnus shrub. You could plant them in your garden, but they’re not very good at taking care of themselves and will eventually die if left alone. If you want to try something different, you might consider growing them out in containers instead. These plants require less attention than their natural counterparts and they’ll produce much larger fruits when grown in a container.

To grow an elaeagnus shrub, you’ll need the following supplies:

A small container that has drainage holes in the bottom

Quality potting soil

A 4-6 foot tall trellis or other support structure

Russian Olive Information: How To Grow An Elaeagnus Shrub - Image

A container sized elaeagnus shrub (you can also start this from seed)


Begin by preparing the container. Wash it thoroughly to remove any chemicals that were used to make it.

Once it’s clean, make sure there are holes in the bottom so water can drain out. Next, fill the container 3/4 of the way full with potting soil. Make sure there are no holes or air pockets. Finally, you’re ready to plant your shrub.

Choose a container sized shrub and remove the shrub from its original pot by gently pulling it out or banging the sides of the pot to loosen the soil. Once it’s out, untangle any roots that are stuck in the pot.

If there aren’t many, don’t worry about it.

Place the shrub on top of the potting soil and gently spread the roots out so they’ll fit into the container you’ve chosen. Gently cover the roots with some more of the potting soil mixture, but don’t cover them completely.

Leave about an inch or two above the surface. Finally, water your shrub thoroughly.

After this, your job is done! Over the next few weeks, your shrub will grow roots and begin to leaf out.

After it has established itself, you can move it into a larger container or directly into the ground if you choose.

As your shrub grows, be sure to fertilize it every now and then. This will keep it healthy and help it produce larger quantities of those delicious fruits!

These bushy plants only grow to be about 5 feet tall, so they make great space savers in the garden. Since they can be grown in a container, you can move them anywhere you like and don’t have to worry about finding just the right spot for them to grow!

If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow fruit tree that gives back big time, try growing an elaeagnus shrub. They’re drought resistant, fast growing and best of all: they taste great!

Shop For Elaeagnus Shrubs

Sources & references used in this article:

Comparisons of sites infested and not infested with saltcedar (Tamarix pentandra) and Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) by JG Carman, JD Brotherson – Weed Science, 1982 – JSTOR

Russian olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia, alters patterns in soil nitrogen pools along the Rio Grande River, New Mexico, USA by JP DeCant – Wetlands, 2008 – Springer

Germination and establishment of the native plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides Marshall subsp. monilifera) and the exotic Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L … by PB Shafroth, GT Auble, ML Scott – Conservation Biology, 1995 – JSTOR

Insect assemblages associated with the exotic riparian shrub Russian olive (Elaeagnaceae), and co-occurring native shrubs in British Columbia, Canada by LKD Collette, J Pither – The Canadian Entomologist, 2016 –

Natural history and invasion of Russian olive along eastern Montana rivers by P Lesica, S Miles – Western North American Naturalist, 2001 – JSTOR

Biology, ecology and management ofElaeagnus angustifolia L. (Russian olive) in western North America by M Stannard, D Ogle, L Holzworth, J Scianna, E Sunleaf – … , Boise, ID, USA. Plant …, 2002

Naturalization of Russian-olive in the western United States by GL Katz, PB Shafroth – Wetlands, 2003 – Springer

Revegetation after Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia L.) removal along the Yellowstone River: a cost and 2-year success assessment by TE Olson, FL Knopf – Western Journal of Applied Forestry, 1986 –

Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) Biology and Ecology and its Potential to Invade Northern North American Riparian Ecosystems by EK Espeland, M Petersen, J Muscha, J Scianna… – Meeting …, 2016 –



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