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

Silver Leaved Plant
carpet lambs ears
(Image credit: Nahhan)

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

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 common silver plants for the garden:

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

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.