Elaeagnus can be either deciduous or evergreen, and often have simple leaves though some varieties have variegation. The stems, flowers and fruit of some varieties (including the more common macrophylla) offer interest.

Most variants like full sun in well-drained soil, however there are types which will also thrive in part shade. They can also thrive in exposed locations on the coast, however they are equally happy in shady gardens.

Some types of Elaeagnus can reach a height of four metres high and eight metres wide after ten years however pruning in late Winter/early Spring or in April/May can keep the shrub to a smaller size.

Propagation also depends on the variety with seed sowing, layering, semi-ripe cuttings or grafting being available options.