Silver Foliage is a Great Peacemaker

By Kerry Ann Mendez

Silver and gray foliage plants are elegant workhorses in sun or shade gardens. They harmonize beautifully with pastel flowers and are calming peacemakers when sited between brilliant clashing colors such as fuchsia and orange.

Made in the Shade

Shade gardens will especially benefit from silver leaves that reflect limited sunlight effectively and illuminate darker spaces. Similarly, they shimmer in moonlit gardens designed to be best appreciated after sundown. Silver is also a terrific mood enhancer - it will lighten the impact of somber-looking black or deep purple-leaved plants.

Taking the Heat

Most silver foliage plants are also quite heat and drought tolerant. They are a mainstay in xeric gardens. Plus, if deer are a problem, silver leaves are your friend! Deer typically leave them alone.

My Favorites

Below are some of the silvery perennial superstars that we carry at Estabrook's. We also offer many dazzling annuals as well as shrubs.

Artemisia - Sun. Multiple cultivars.

Snow in Summer (Cerastium) - Sun.

Yarrow (Achillea) - Sun. 'Moonshine', 'Coronation Gold', 'Sassy Summer Silver'

Lavender - Sun. Multiple cultivars.

Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera) - Part Shade/Shade. Multiple cultivars.

Dead Nettle (Lamium) - Part Shade/Shade. Multiple cultivars.

Wooly Thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) - Sun.

Russian Sage (Perovskia) - Sun/Part Sun. Multiple cultivars.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) - Sun.

About the Author

KERRY ANN MENDEZ is an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant based in southern Maine. Her latest book is The Budget-Wise Gardener. You'll now find her at Estabrook's consulting on garden design, answering your gardening questions and much more.

Kerry Ann Mendez