Silver Plants: Using Silver Leaved Plant To Add Interest To The Garden

silver-foliage
Image by Ivy Dawned

By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

Silver or gray foliage plants can complement nearly any garden, and many of them are low maintenance too. Most of these interesting plants perform well in hot or dry areas. In fact, a large number of plants with gray and silver foliage are even native to drought-like environments. The main reason for this is their hairy foliage or the waxy texture that some silver leaf plants have. Both of these characteristics enable them to reflect sunlight and conserve water.

In the garden, silver leaf plants may take on several different roles. They can add unique interest anywhere, working well on their own as focal points or with other plants. A silver leaved plant can be an excellent contrast to green plants while breaking up the monotony of single colored gardens. They can also tone down bright colors. Silver plants blend nicely with shades of blue, lilac, and pink. They also contrast well with purple, red, and orange.

A List of Silver Plant Names

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No matter how to choose to use them in the garden, this neutral color will add some dimension and interest to nearly any landscape. Here is a list of some of the most commonly silver plant names for the garden:

  • Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) – its fine white hairs give it a soft, fuzzy gray appearance. Great ground cover with inconspicuous blooms.
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) – lavender blue flowers with gray aromatic foliage
  • Faassen’s catmint (Nepata x faassenii) – somewhat hairy gray green foliage with blue flowers
  • Amethyst sea holly (Eryngium amethystinum) – steel blue flowers hovering over gray green foliage
  • Sivermound mugwort (Artemisia schmidtiana) – wooly gray clumps with tiny pale yellow flowers
  • Rose campion (Lychnis atriplicifolia) – showy rose colored flowers rise high above its silver green foliage
  • Dusty miller (Senecio cineraria ‘Silverdust’) – annual grown for its hairy, silvery white foliage
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata) – speckled silvery gray foliage with blue flowers
  • Woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) – low growing ground cover with gray felt-like foliage
  • Mediterranean lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – aromatic gray green foliage and purple flower spikes
  • Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum) – leaves and small yellow flowers are covered with white hairs, giving silver appearance
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum) – ground cover with small metallic, silvery leaves and bright white flowers
  • Ornamental mullein (Verbascum) – resembles lamb’s ear but with attractive flower spikes of white, yellow, pink, or peach

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