GARDENS BY THE BAY
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 3
It is hard to imagine any colour that is not enhanced by being in close proximity to plants with silver foliage. Gray-green shades of silver are unparalleled for their ability to blend with everything. Gray goes with all hues, but is especially nice with pastels and whites. Pure silver is brighter than the preceding shades and may need judicious use in a border situation.
* 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.
Money Plant or Silver Dollar, a self-seeding biennial, puts out silvery foliage in its first year, blooms in the second, then dies. Flowers are either purple or white and are followed by papery seedheads in the shape of coins, hence the name. Sow seeds outdoors in early spring or in mid-summer or allow the plant to self-sow.
Lunaria annua: Silver Dollar, Money Plant
Various forms of Campion benefit by having a silvery effect in their foliage which acts to tone down the intensity of some of its flower colours. All species are especially handsome when placed amid plenty of green, including that of shrubs. They will self-sow so you are unlikely to be without them after your initial planting.
Lychnis coronaria: Rose Campion, 18-24" x 18"
what: silvery-grey foliage in rosettes with clusters of rose-crimson flowers above on branched, grey stems
Lychnis flos-jovis: Flower of Jove, Flower of Jupiter, 12-24"
what: clump-forming, with grey foliage and deep rose-pink flowers
Lychnis flos-jovis 'Hort's Variety': clear rose pink flowers
what: flowers are held on long 24" stems above woolly grey foliage
in front of: Paeonia 'Mahogany' (a single, crimson flowers)
For more information about this genus, its forms and its care, follow the links below.
Catmint, both showy and fragrant, is wonderful at the edges of a garden, where the bluish-to-purple flowers can be appreciated up close. Foliage adds a grey-green, sometimes silvery, effect to this wonderful, subtle perennial plant. Cut-back afer the first flush of blooms for a repeat in the fall.
Nepeta x faassenii
Nepeta x 'Six Hills Giant': 36"x30"
note: the perfect companion for many Dianthus forms
with: Achillea 'Coronation Gold'
with: Phlomis russeliana, Alchemilla mollis & Rosa 'Graham Thomas (a lovely golden-yellow)
Find many companions for this "blender" genus at the links below.
One form of Poppy in particular, the Opium Poppy, has handsome silvery foliage. The flowers that bloom above can be singles, semi-doubles or doubles, in many different shades, all made more attractive by being in close proximity to the lovely foliage.
The images above show only a hint of the colour possibilities in this genus.
For plenty of other Poppy species, follow the links below.
Russian Sage is not a Sage, in spite of its name, but is gorgeous nonetheless with its fragrant, grey-green leaves and lavender-blue blooms on grey-white stems. Give it a well-drained site and prune the woody stems of this shrubby perennial back to 6" in early spring.
Perovskia atriplicifolia: Russian Sage, a sub-shrub, 4'x3'
what: 1995 PPA Plant of the Year
with: Rudbeckia and other late-blooming perennials or Ornamental Grasses
Jerusalem Sage did not appear in any of my early gardening books which is probably why I have only recently added it to my gardens. Preferring full sun and well-drained soil, it will surely provide an overall silvery effect that is always most welcome with its hooded butter-yellow flowers in whorls and grey-green foliage.
Phlomis russeliana: 36"x24"
with: Nepeta x 'Six Hills Giant', Alchemilla mollis & Rosa 'Graham Thomas' (golden yellow)
Commonly known as Lungwort, this is another genus amazingly rich in silvery-foliaged forms. When you see pictures of these beauties, you'll want to try them all. Use Google Images to check out some of the forms below, just a few of the many with such silvered leaves.
Pulmonaria 'Diana Clare': glistening silver leaves, intense deep-blue flowers
Pulmonaria 'Excalibur': silver leaves with narrow dark green edges
Pulmonaria 'Majeste': 8-10", silvery-grey leaves with a narrow green edge and bluish-pink flowers
Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash': silver-splotched leaves, deep pinkish-red flowers, foliage does not change colour with age
Pulmonaria 'Silver Shimmers': 8-10", long, silvered, wavy leaves and steel blue flowers
Pulmonaria 'Silver Streamers': 12"x18", foliage is nearly pure silver
Pulmonaria 'Spilled Milk': wide, very silvered foliage, with some green blotching
Pulmonaria longifolia: Joseph and Mary, long narrow pointed leaves with silvery spots
Pulmonaria saccharata 'Argentea': leaves are nearly all silver
Other forms of Lungwort can be found by following the links below.
Lungworts in shade
Lungworts with variegated foliage
Once called Anemone pulsatilla, this spring-blooming perennial now known as Pulsatilla vulgaris may have white, red or purple blooms. After the flowers put in their rather brief appearance it is the foliage you will appreciate for its overall silvery look. You may be more familiar with the common name, Pasque Flower. The purple form of this perennial can be seen in the border around this page as well as in the images just below and at the top of the page.
the purple cultivar above left can be seen in the border around this page and in the image at the top of the page
Find more cultural information about and spring-blooming companions for this early-blooming beauty at the link below.
Sage, whether grown for its flowers or its foliage, is a welcome highlight in a garden setting. When the silver-foliaged forms are added the result will bring comments and praise from all your garden visitors.
Salvia argentea: ; Silver Sage, giant silvery-gray woolly foliage, silvery-white flowers (cut off immediately after flowering)
where: dry, sunny spots in extremely well-drained soil
Salvia officinalis 'Berggarten': wide, silvery-gray foliage, lower and wider than most forms
what: a cultivar that is tolerant of heat and humidity, as well as long-lived
Salvia sclarea: Clary Sage, biennial, low silvery, felted foliage in rosettes in the first year
second year: produces tall stalks smothered in white-mauve-pink flowers
seed production: although the plant will die after flowering, it will produce plenty of seeds first
If the silvery forms above are not enough and you want more, just follow the links below for plenty of ideas.
purple-flowered Salvia forms
white-flowered Salvia forms
yellow-flowered Salvia forms
Lavender Cotton is the common name of this fibrous-rooted woody-crowned mounding perennial, perfect for edging garden beds or walkways. Drought-resistant, this Zone 6 hardy plant favours well-drained, sandy or loamy soil in full sun. Keep plants bushy by pruning back hard after flowering has finished.
Santolina chamaecyparissus: Lavender Cotton,1-2' tall, grayish-white, woolly, divided foliage, small yellow flowers
where: bed or walkway edges, knot gardens
In addition to solid-coloured and variegated leaves, some forms of Stonecrop even have silvery foliage as you will see by the list of several such below.
Sedum sieboldii: October Daphne, 6-9", pink flowers, gray-green foliage
Sedum 'Frosty Morn': 18-24", white-bordered foliage
Sedum 'Matrona': gray-green foliage, shaded maroon
Sedum spathulifolium: 4", silvery-gray leaves in rosettes, bright yellow flowers
Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco': silver-white succulent foliage, small yellow flowers
Sedum spathulifolium 'Purpureum': silver foliage, bright red on reverse, pink flowers
foliage seen in the image above with the yellow flowers and green foliage of Chrysoganum virginianum
Follow the links to other pages with other forms of Stonecrop you may want to consider for your beds and borders.
Stonecrop to attract butterflies
Stonecrop for edgers
Stonecrop with red foliage
Stonecrop with white flowers
Stonecrop with yellow flowers
Stonecrop with variegated foliage
Lamb's Ears is one genus that immediately comes to mind when you think of silver-foliaged perennials. A wonderful edger for adding a feeling of softness to a garden setting, a method by which to bring harmony to otherwise discordant elements.
Follow the link below for plant combinations with other Stachys forms.
Lambs Ears as edgers
Sun-loving Thyme is available in numerous forms with leaf colour ranging from bright green, to light green, to variegated, to silvery. Choices in the latter abound as you will see below.
Thymus x citriodorus 'Silver Queen': Lemon Thyme, pale lilac flowers, silver-edged foliage
Thymus pseudolanuginosus: Woolly Thyme, to 2"
where: cracks in patios, walkways, rock walls
Thymus vulgaris argenteus: Silver Thyme, cream and silver foliage
interplanted with: other low-growing flowers
where: in boxes, planters and pots
More forms of Thyme can be found at the links below.
Another sun-lover, the Mullein has numerous silver-leaved forms. Many may be coarse-looking but the silvery effect will soften their boldness. These are biennial, producing a rosette of foliage the first year, then flowers the second in shades of yellow, pink or peach. They will produce plenty of seeds after flowering is over for propagation.
Verbascum bombyciferum: Giant Silver Mullein, 60-70"x18-24", silver-gray felted foliage in first year
where: in spite of their tall stature, they look wonderful in mid to front border positions
surrounded by: short-statured companion plants
Other Mullein forms can be found at the following links
With its beautiful upright spikes of flowers in a variety of colours, Speedwell doesn't need silver foliage but can benefit from it just the same.
Veronica spp. incana: deep violet-blue, 8-12"x12" or more
Follow the links below to find numerous other Veronica forms and their perfect companions.
Speedwell as edgers
FOR MORE SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS & ORNAMENTAL GRASSES, FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW.
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CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
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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 |
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