GARDENS BY THE BAY
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 2
Part of the family of colours called "white", silver can be a gray-green hue, a gray hue or a silver hue, all with darker and lighter tones. Gray-greens and grays will blend with nearly any colour and are excellent when used to separate discordant colours.
Note, however, that a pure silver, like white itself, should be used with care as it can overwhelm everything nearby.
* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.
The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.
To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.
To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.
To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.
Dogwood, a shrub that can remain attractive throughout the year, has some forms with silvery foliage. Plant them in full sun to part shade and enjoy the show.
Cornus alba var. 'Argenteo-Marginata': Silverleaf Dogwood
above: Eranthis hyemalis, pale Narcissus forms
There are other ornamental forms of Dogwood with showy spring flowers. Check them out at the link below.
Cardoon, with wonderful silvery-grey foliage, makes an excellent albeit huge and dramatic background plant. Only hardy to Zone 7, it is worth growing as an annual in colder zones.
with: 4' tall Euphorbia palustris (Marsh Spurge)
for foliage contrast with: Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Blue Stem grass) & Stachys 'Big Ears'
Pinks come in a variety of forms with silvery foliage, usually with a grey or bluish tint.
Dianthus arenarius: Sand Pinks, 8"/20 cm, fringed petals, fragrant white flowers, silvery-blue foliage
Dianthus deltoides 'Mrs. Sinkins': 12", highly fragrant double white flowers, steel-grey foliage
in front of: Iris x germanica
between: Nepeta x faassenii & Iberis sempervirens
over bulbs: Iris reticulata, Iris histrioides major
with: dark foliage plants i.e. Heuchera
Dianthus plumarius 'Ballad Blend': colours include white, pink, red, rose, salmon, 15", silvery-blue somewhat spiky foliage
For a multitude of other Dianthus forms, more information about their culture and preferred sites and numerous images, be sure to try some of the links below.
note: some flowers are "banded", all have dark eyes, may rebloom slightly in late summer, not as fragrant as Cottage Pinks
synonym: Dianthus Ballade Strain
with: lavender, Nepeta x faassenii
with: pink Rosa of various hues
edging Dianthus forms
Globe Thistle, its foliage a lovely grey-green, nevertheless gives an over-all silvery appearance to the spot it normally occupies as a backdrop in a garden setting.
Echinops: Globe Thistle
Echinops ritro 'Taplow Blue': steel-blue flowers, 2" across, foliage 6-8" long, Zone 6
with: Achillea 'Red Beauty', Achillea x 'Moonshine', Aster novi-belgii 'Benary's Composition Mix',
Heuchera sanguinea, Lavandula, Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead', Liatris
with: Hemerocallis (lemon yellow), canary yellow 'Hyperion', light orange 'Painted Lady', golden-yellow 'Stella d'Oro'
with: Phlox paniculata 'Mount Fujiyama' (an excellent white)
with: Lilium 'Thunderbolt' (an apricot Trumpet type), Perovskia atriplicifolia, Rudbeckia laciniata 'Goldquelle'
beside: Alcea, Alcea rugosa (soft yellow)
in moist soil with: Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket'
in dry soil with: Verbena including Verbena bonariensis
combined with: Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan', Scabiosa 'Pink Mist' & Verbascum 'Benary's Hybrids'
combined with: Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan', Liatris ligulistylis, Alcea rugosa & Buddleia 'Red Plume'
with: Achillea x 'Coronation Gold', Kniphofia 'Royal Castle Hybrids'
Echinops ruthenicus: bright blue
with: Hemerocallis (especially lemon or creamy yellow ones
with: Hemerocallis 'Ice Cap' (pale cream-petalled, lemon-yellow throated)
Follow the links below for more ideas and information.
Globe Thistle to attract Butterflies
blue-flowered Globe Thistle
Sea Holly, otherwise known as Eryngo, blooms in summer and fall and thrives in full sun and dry soil. Steely-blue flowers steal the show but the subtly silvery foliage is handsome even before the blooms appear. Choose the site carefully. These are tap-rooted perennials which are difficult to move once established.
with: Artemisia x 'Powis Castle'
For an amazing number of forms of this wonderful perennial, information about their care, and plant partnership ideas, just follow the link below.
Simply Special Perennials - Sea Holly's many forms
You will be delighted with the effect created by the silvery foliage of some forms of Spurge.
Euphorbia myrsinites: Donkey-Tail Spurge, Myrtle Euphorbia, blue-gray foliage
Follow the link below for more forms of Spurge and the companions that suit them best.
where: at border edges, to drape over rocks
seen above with: purple Aubrieta in the spring
Even Ornamental Grasses can possess a silvery effect, such as that of some of the Fescues.
Festuca: Blue Fescue, under 12"x8-12"
Baby's Breath, with its airy flowers, is as useful in the garden as it is in any flower arrangement. Consider as well the foliage - it can be blue-green to a gray-green which assumes a silvery appearance.
Gypsophila paniculata: Baby's Breath
Gypsophila paniculata 'Double White': Baby's Breath
Gypsophila paniculata 'Perfecta': double white Baby's Breath
Not all forms of Baby's Breath have silvery foliage, or for that matter, white flowers. Follow the links before for alternatives.
pink-flowered Baby's Breath
white-flowered Baby's Breath
Blue Oat Grass is often described more as a metallic blue colour than silver or grey. There are those who think its overall effect is silvery. However you describe it, this grass will fare best in well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. Good air circulation will ensure handsome foliage. Hot, humid summers are definitively not to its liking. Do not cut this grass back in spring as with other ornamental grasses. Use your fingers to comb out old, loose foliage.
Coral Bells, in its myriad forms, has nearly always been about the foliage. The wonderful variations create quite a sensation when there is a haze of silver above the underlying patterns and colours. The degree of silvering on the leaves can range from heavy to subtle. The cultivars mentioned below only touch the surface of the many new and wonderful silver Heuchera forms widely available today.
CULTIVARS WITH HEAVILY SILVERED FOLIAGE
Heuchera 'Fantasia': highly silvered, lobed foliage looks shimmery, pink flowers
Heuchera 'Geisha's Fan: 8"x15", elegant, silver foliage with charcoal veining, light pink flowers on 18" stems
Heuchera x 'Silver Scrolls': 18-24"x18", bronze, silver & maroon foliage etched wine-red, pink buds open to white blooms
CULTIVARS WITH MORE SUBTLY SILVERED FOLIAGE
Heuchera 'Autumn Haze': 8"x18", crimson foliage with silver veins, pink flowers on 24" stalks
Heuchera 'Can Can': metallic silver foliage, heavy ruffling at edges, foliage to 9", flower stems to 26"
Heuchera 'Cascade Dawn': 8"x17", deep purple foliage with lavender & silvery tones, flowers on 26" stems
Heuchera 'Green Spice': silvery-white foliage with green veining, turning purple in colder weather, cream flowers on 28" stems
Heuchera 'Guardian Angel': young foliage is bright purple, becoming heavily silvered with age, white flowers on purple stems
Heuchera 'Plum Pudding': plum-coloured, silver-tinged foliage to 10", insignificant white flowers
Heuchera 'Quicksilver': metallic silver foliage with bronze veins, pale pink flowers age to white, to 18"
Heuchera 'Raspberry Ice': two-toned pink flowers, silver veined dark raspberry foliage to 12", flower stems to 24"
Heuchera 'Silver Indiana': silver and burgundy marbled foliage, white bell-shaped flowers, foliage to 9", stems to 36"
Heuchera 'Silver Lode': pink buds open into white flowers, silver-marbled foliage to 12", flower stems 30-36"
Heuchera 'Stormy Seas': silver, lavender, pewter and charcoal grey, ruffled foliage to 8", stems to 28"
For many more forms of Heuchera and the companion plants that suit them best, try some of the links below.
Coral Bells edgers
Coral Bells to attract Hummingbirds
pink-flowered Coral Bells
purple-foliaged Coral Bells
red-flowered Coral Bells
white-flowered Coral Bells
variegated foliage Coral Bells
The groundcover plant, Dead Nettle, always prettier than its common name would suggest, has many forms with silvery accents that shine in shady areas of the garden. Whether the silvering is along the edges, down the centre or covering the leaves, the effect is always handsome.
Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver': 4"x12", pink flowers, small silvery-green leaves, tinted purple in fall
Lamium maculatum 'Shell Pink': green with silver along stem (silvery striped)
If you want more choices, use Google Images to view some of the several forms below, then find your own perfect companions for the shady spots where you plant them.
Lamium maculatum 'Album': 4"x12", white flowers, silver-striped foliage
Lamium maculatum 'Chequers': 4"x12", rosy-coloured flowers, small leaves, dark green with a silver stripe
Lamium maculatum 'Pink Chequers': 4"x12", bright pink flowers, silver-striped dark green leaves
Lamium maculatum 'Red Nancy': 4"x12", true pink flowers, silver foliage
Lamum 'Rice Creek Gardens': plum-coloured flowers, silvery foliage
Rich combination plantings with this perennial and suggestions for its care are suggested at the links below.
Lamiums in shade
Lavender has grey-green foliage that shows to best effect when planted together in masses. Try it and see for yourself.
More attractive forms of lavender can be found at the links below.
note: watch for a better image of both the foliage and flowers here in 2007
blue Lavender forms
purple Lavender forms
Another warm season Ornamental Grass, Lyme Grass, or wild rye, has a somewhat blue-grey appearance to its foliage. Beware of its invasive nature however and take steps from the start to curb its enthusiastic spread. If you are determined to give this genus a try, some of its forms are listed below. Do your own research to see which might be right for your purposes. The most attractive form is probably the first in the list. Some forms are in the Elymus genus, some in the Leymus genus. My updated information about the forms below is from Rick Darke's Timber Press Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses.
Leymus arenarius 'Glaucus: Blue Lyme Grass, Zone 4
Leymus arenarius 'Findhorn': wild rye, a compact cultivar
Elymus canadensis: Canadian wild rye, Zone 3, of little ornamental value
Leymus condensatus: Giant wild rye, Zone 7
Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince': Zone 7
Elymus glaucus: Blue wild rye, Zone 5, clump-forming, densely tufted
Elymus magellanicus: Blue Wheatgrass, Zone 6, highly ornamental, a clump-former, the most intense blue foliage of all grasses
Leymus mollis: Pacific dune grass, Sea Lyme Grass, Zone 4
Leymus racemosus 'Glaucus': Giant dune grass, Zone 4
Find more information by following the link below to our Ornamental Grasses page.
Lyme Grass Ornamental Grass
Sea Lavender is sometimes called a Baby's Breath look-alike to be used as a "filler" in the garden. Its flowers are produced in airy clusters and are good used as dried flowers as well as in fresh arrangements. With a preference for average to rich, moist, well-drained soil in full sun or part shade this plant is sure to find a suitable home somewhere in your beds. Site the plant well. Moving established plants is difficult but not impossible. To propagate, separate new crowns with roots attached from the outside of plants in spring.
watch for a picture of this plant in summer 2007
For more information about this perennial, and ideas for attractive companions, follow the links below.
Sea Lavender to attract Butterflies
white-flowered Sea Lavender
FOR MORE SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & ORNAMENTAL GRASSES, FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW.
All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
GARDEN POETRY |
GARDEN POETRY MUSE
GEORGIAN BAY VIEW
BOTANICAL LATIN - BASICS
CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
CORNER GARDEN PLANTING |
EAST GARDEN |
HOSTA GARDEN |
NORTH GARDEN |
BLUE PERENNIALS Aconitum -
Iris - Vinca
BULBS Allium - Hyacinthus |
Narcissus only |
Tulipa only |
BUTTERFLY MAGNETS Anaphalis - Hemerocallis |
Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES Spider & Unusual Form
EDGERS Arabis - Iris |
Nepeta - Veronica
Alchemilla - Tanacetum
HOSTA Hosta - all
HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS Alcea - Salvia
ORANGE PERENNIALS Achillea - Tulipa
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Acorus - Imperata |
Miscanthus - Spodiopogon
PINK PERENNIALS Achillea - Lilium |
Lychnis - Veronica
PURPLE PERENNIALS Aconitum - Liatris |
Polemonium - Veronica
RED PERENNIALS Achillea - Veronica
SHADE PERENNIALS Aegopodium - Erythronium |
Ferns - Polemonium |
Polygonatum - Vinca
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS
Achillea - Cerastium
Cornus - Limonium
Lunaria - Veronica
SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS Acanthus - Saxifraga
WHITE PERENNIALS Achillea - Iris |
Kalimeris - Yucca
YELLOW PERENNIALS Achillea - Hypericum |
Inula - Verbascum
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS Acorus - Erythronium |
Hakonechloa - Lysimachia |
Miscanthus - Yucca
Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' |
Geum coccineum |
Kerria japonica |
Paeonia tenuifolia |
Papaver somniferum |
Salvia 'East Friesland'
Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
DIVISION - SPRING ONLY |
DIVISION - FALL ONLY |
DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL |
DO NOT DIVIDE
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES |
LOCAL GARDENS |
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