Landscaping with Silver and Grey Foliage
It is safe to say that generally speaking, most silver or grey leafed plants can be regarded as drought tolerant. This is due to the fact that the pale foliage reflects the harsh rays of the sun thus minimizing moisture loss.
Many grey leafed plants have added attributes that afford them further protection from sun damage. Some, such as lavender and arctotis, have finely cut leaves, which helps to reduce transpiration. Others have fine silvery hairs on the foliage such as salvia and stachys, while succulents such as sedum and lampranthus have a waxy coating.
Grey leafed plants have a special place in the landscape as they can be used as a lovely contrast to offset the various greens of other plants or to soften the effect of brilliant colours that are planted close together.
There are grey leafed plants to suit any type of landscape. Whether you are looking for an accent plant such as one of the grey leafed Cycads, a hardy tree, shrubs or groundcovers, you will find grey leafed plants to suit your requirements perfectly.
The list of grey leafed plants is endless. Here are a few to get you started:
Grey leafed trees
Leucadendron argenteum: The well known Silver tree is one of our most popular trees. The long silver hairs on the leaves give the tree it's characteristic silver sheen. This is a graceful addition to any landscape.
Olea europaea subsp.africana: The wild olive develops an interesting crooked trunk and has a dense rounded crown. The wild olive is a lovely small shade tree.
Cussonia paniculata: With its distinctive foliage and umbrella like growth form, the Highveld cabbage tree is a superb accent plant, lending a truly African touch to the landscape.
Grey leafed shrubs
Artemesia afra: The lovely soft, feathery, fern like leaves of the wilde als create a beautiful contrast with other plants in the garden.
Lavendula dentata: French lavender remains an all time favorite and always looks good, especially when planted en masse.
Eriocephalus africanus: Wild rosemary is a delightful aromatic shrub with fine grey needle like foliage and tiny white flowers that develop into small woolly balls giving rise to the Afrikaans name 'kapokbossie'.
Grey leafed groundcovers
Lotus maculatus: Lotus is an exquisite, low growing groundcover with fine leaves and slender stems. The stunning, exotic looking pea flowers are burnt orange or crimson. Perfect for pots or cascading over a low wall.
Helichrysum petiolare: A fast growing, truly hardy groundcover with attractive silver grey foliage. This robust grower may need regular trimming. The pale foliage is an excellent foil for other plants.
Senecio cineraria: Fast growing Dusty miller has a spreading habit, silver grey, fern like foliage and golden yellow flowers. A good edging plant for paved areas.