Silver Shrubs and Herbaceous Plants


Atriplex halimus, 4 to 8 ft., s. 6 ft., has slender silver leaves with a satiny texture, which look attractive with all flowers. It makes a wide spreading bush which can be cut down in spring. Grows well by the sea.

Ballota pseudodictamnus, 2 ft., has the advantage of being evergreen and its small, woolly, silvery leaves are surprisingly tough. It has soft pink flowers which nestle in deep woolly calyces. Needs a well-drained ordinary soil and a sunny position. Plant in spring or autumn.

Convolvulus cneorum, 1 to 3 ft., has narrow leaves covered with silvery, silky hairs, and blush-pink flowers opening from pink buds.

Helichrysum angustifolium, 1 ft., smells of curry, particularly in hot sun. It has silver leaves and burnished gold flower heads. H. Plicatum, 2 to 3 ft., makes a loose bush with long narrow leaves and flat gold heads. H. triliniatum, 2 ft., s. 2 ft., is more compact, with tiny three-veined leaves and small, yellow, plush flowers.

Olearia mollis, 2 to 3 ft., s. 2-½ ft., one of the most attractive of the daisy bushes, has silver leaves and white flowers. 0. semi-dentata, 8 ft., has larger, whiter leaves with purple-centred lilac flowers.

Pyrus salicifolia pendula (weeping pear), 15 to 25 ft., s. 20 to 30 ft., could easily be taken for a small silver willow. It has cream flowers and looks well at the end of a path or formally in pairs in front of a house. Plant from November to February in an ordinary soil.

Santolina chamaecyparissus, 1-1/2 to 2-½ ft., is a neat plant and is useful as a hedge. S.c. Nana is even smaller and can be planted in a rock garden. S. neapolitana, 2 ft., has the most silvery foliage of the cotton lavenders. The form with pale flowers, S. sulphureum, H ft., is particularly useful.

Senecio cineraria (syn. S.maritima), 1 to 2 ft., is a true perennial but is usually used as a bedding plant. S.c. Silver Filigree has particularly delicate leaves and S.c. White Diamond has wide, white foliage and is hardy. S. greyii, 3 ft., s. 4 ft., and S. laxifolius, 2 to 3 ft., s. 3 ft., are hardy shrubs with leathery silver leaves and golden flowers.

S. leucostachys, 2 to 3 ft., s. 3 ft., needs a south wall even in the west, but it is worth keeping it going from cuttings for it has beautiful lacy foliage and ivory flowers. S. monroi, 2 to 6 ft., s. 5 ft., is not very hardy but its wavy, silver-lined leaves are attractive.

Sorbus aria lutescens (whitebeam), 20 ft., s. 20 ft., in time. Its silver foliage is particularly lovely when it unfolds in April and lasts well in water. The white flowers are followed by scarlet berries.

The silver colour of the leaves comes from the...

The silver colour of the leaves comes from their soft velvety hair. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Achillea clavenae (syn. A. argentea), 6 in., silver foliage and white flowers, is suitable for the rock garden or front of a border. A. clypeolata, 20 in., has the whitest, most refined foliage of the silver achilleas, but it is not as hardy as A. Moonshine. A. Flowers of Sulphur, 2 ft., has deep ivory flowers and silver-grey leaves. A. Moonshine, 2 ft., has a bushy habit and golden flowers. A. taygetea, 1-½ ft., is similar to A. Flowers of Sulphur. A. wilzeckii is similar to A. argentea.

Anaphalis margaritacea, 15 in., silver leaves, has running roots and little to show in winter. A. triplinervis, 1 ft., is the most adaptable of this family, with its ivory “everlasting” daisy flowers, and makes a neat evergreen clump. A. yedoensis is similar to A. margaritacea but taller.

Anthemis cupaniana, 1 to -1/2ft., is more grey than silver but is useful in many places, including walls and pavings, and its white flowers are continuous.

Artemisia absinthium Lambrook Silver, 3 ft., is an improved form of A. absinthium, and makes a big mound of frothy silver foliage with flowers like mimosa. Other artemisias with filigree foliage are:

A. canescens, 1 ft., A. discolor, 2 ft., A. splendens, up to 1 ft., and A. versicolor, 2 ft. A. ludoviciana, 3 ft., and A. Silver Queen have tall spikes of white leaves, and both “run” to a certain extent. A. stelteriana, 1 ft., is prostrate and has large white leaves rather like those of a chrysanthemum.

Chrysanthemum haradjanii is low growing and makes a flat mat of silver leaves fringed to the centre veins.

Cynara cardunculus (cardoon), 5 ft., s. 4 ft., usually produces its young leaves in autumn after the flower spikes with their small blue thistle flowers have been cut down, and the large clump of elegant silver foliage continues all through the winter. C. scolymos (globe artichoke), 3 to 6 ft., s. 4 ft., has equally handsome silver leaves and flower heads which are beautiful at every stage.

Helianthemum. The Bride, Chocolate Blotch, Fire Dragon and H. rhodanthe carneum are among the rock roses with silver foliage. If the plants are trimmed after flowering they make neat mounds of silver, rarely more than 1 ft. high.

Hieracium pilosella is a silver carpeter, with typical lemon-yellow hawkweed flowers. It makes neat rosettes on the ends of long stalks which arch and root where they come to rest. H. waldsteinii, 1 ft., has broad white leaves, but the flowers are insignificant and should be cut off. Plant in October or March in ordinary soil on sunny banks.

Lychnis coronaria, 1-½ ft., though a typical cottage-garden plant, is worthy of any garden because of its evergreen silver-grey rosettes, and branching flower spikes in magenta or white. L Jlos-jovis, 6 in., has bright pink flowers.

Onopordon arabicum (cotton thistle), 8 to 10 ft., s. 8 ft., is a biennial, but seeds itself liberally. Its glistening spiny leaves and small thistle flowers are magnificent in the right setting. Plant seeds 1/2 in. deep in ordinary soil in sunny position in March, and transplant in September.

Potentilla argyrophylla, 2 to 3 ft., has silver-strawberry leaves and either yellow or crimson flowers, and looks well at the front of the border. P. fragiformis, 8 in., is also silver with rather hairy leaves and golden-yellow flowers, and is small enough for the rock garden.

Salvia argentea, up to 3 ft., has lovely leaves thickly covered with silver down, and tall spikes of pure white flowers.

Stachys lanata (donkey’s ears, lamb’s tongue), 1 to 1-½ ft., is one of the best silver plants in the garden, with its carpets of evergreen leaves and tall spikes of soft pink flowers. Plant in ordinary soil as edging plants in autumn or spring.

Verbascum bombyciferum, 12 ft., s. 3 ft., is particularly lovely in winter when its rosettes of large silver leaves cover the soil; in summer, tall down-coated spikes are encrusted with yellow flowers. V. haensleri, 8 ft., s. 2 ft., is silver too, with pale yellow flowers, but the silver leaves are smooth and unfelted—and not so tempting to slugs.

Veronica incana, 1-1/2 ft., looks lovely pouring over the edge of a wall, and its silver-grey foliage makes a good background for spikes of violet-blue flowers.

17. January 2013 by admin
Categories: Coloured Foliage, Plants | Tags: , | Comments Off on Silver Shrubs and Herbaceous Plants


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