Select Page

All the “how to” websites will tell you silver foliage is a great addition to the garden because it cools things down and plays nice with the hot colors. Then they go on to show photographs of plants that are actually grey, white or blue. I have nothing against those plants (they’re some of my favorites) but when I want silver I want shine…

It’s been said (more than once and by more than one) that if it’s silver and shiny then Loree will like it. While I start to protest I think they’re probably actually right, as proven by my love for metal containers and shiny stock tanks.

Looking closely at the plants I call silver, most of them are covered with tiny hairs that reflect the light, and make them soft to the touch. They’re typically pretty drought tolerant too. Here are some favorites, in no way is this an exhaustive list, just a few I’ve grown, or wish I could…

When I discovered this particular plant on a walk I didn’t know what it was, even though I’d grown Convolvulus cneorum in my own garden. Mine never looked this good! Perhaps I shall try again.

Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’ is one I’d admired in other’s gardens (here dripping over the entry wall at Lauren Hall-Behrens Portland garden) and finally grew for myself last summer. It’s an annual in my climate, I will probably add a couple to the garden this year.

After ordering my first Lupinus albifrons from Annie’s Annuals I’m hooked on this plant. Our local Xera Plants has been offering them this spring and I’ve added four more to my garden. Oh and the original has bloomed. A fact I wasn’t thrilled about but I actually kind of like the deep purple flowers.

I’m shouting my love for Echium wildpretii loud and often. I bought a few at a local nursery a couple weeks back and had a nice long conversation about them with the cashier, who wasn’t yet familiar with their charms. Oh and those hairs that usually make silver leaves soft? Not the case here. In fact these are almost as wicked as Opuntia glochids.
echium-wildpretii close up

Sigh, now were in “wish I could grow them” territory. Bismarckia nobilis is, in my opinion, the most beautiful palm there is. Sculptural, silver fronds…
bismarckia-nobilis close up

And an explosive type of growth habit, as though fireworks were going off. A friend attempted to grow this beauty in a container in her garden here in Portland, it only lasted the season but what a brief statement it made!

It just doesn’t get any better than Leucadendron argenteum, someday I’m going to haul one of those 5-gallon beauties back from the Bay Area and spend my summer staring at it, and fondling those leaves (they feel like puppy-ears!)…

Next up in my exploration of silver plants I think I’ll be acquiring a few Artemisia, I’m just beginning to fall for their lacy silver charms. And of course I’d love to hear about your favorite silvers!