Garrya needs no maintenance to speak of but they can get large up to 4 metres and an equal spread when mature, so Garrya can be regarded as a large garden shrub, almost a small tree. Males have the most ornamental tassels, and 'James Roof' has the RHS merit award which is always a good sign to look for when selecting a garden shrub or plant. The catkin like tassels on James Roof can be up to 35 cms making an impressive winter show. If the plant is in an exposed spot it can damage the leaves as you will see in the image left where some of the leaves have been browned by a severe winter. If the shrub is damaged in a bad winter you can prune out the browned leaves. However, itcan be difficult to move a Garrya as Garrya resent transplanting.
Garrya does not require pruning and it is not recommended to prune it hard. This means it is difficult to contain the size of the shrub by pruning and it best grown where there is enough space to accommodate it as a very large shrub. If a Garrya needs to be pruned, it is pruning group 8 which refers to evergreen shrubs which flower between winter and early spring on the previous year's growth. This means the flowers, in the case of a Garrya it's tassels, come in late winter and have been formed over the previous months which makes it important to prune it after the tassels have finished, otherwise you will risk cutting the wood on which the tassels are forming and miss a years flowers. Garrya can be tidied up to remove any dead branches and to create symmetry. As a general rule the best time to prune is early to mid Spring once the the tassels display is over.
As the images below show, Garrya is an eye catching shrub and which looks great in the winter. It combines well with other winter shrubs such as Cotoneaster horizontalis image far left and with Cornus both with red stems (above right ) C, alba 'Sibirica'and yellow stems (below right), C. sericea Flaviramea.
The Tassels are interesting viewed in close up as the images below illustrate.