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Silver Foliage Native Plants

A plant with silvery leaves provide a lovely contrast in a garden. They are also dry tolerant, and so are ideal for a difficult patch in full sun. You can also try placing them near entrance areas as they show up quite well at night.

The silver tones can vary through a spectrum of blueish grey to a more yellowish tone. Choose one to blend in with other current flowers, for instance the blueish tones would be more appropriate with blues, pinks, whites and purple, while the warmer yellow tones are more at home with yellows and oranges. Larger ones, from shrubs to trees can form a contrasting background which highlights the plants in front very effectively. However a contrast such as yellow flowering Helichrysum apiculatum with blue brachyscome daisies as in the photo below is a cheering sight.

Silver Plectranthus (Plectranthus argentatus)

This is a very hardy plant which grows into a low (~1m) spreading bush with soft textured hairy silver leaves. It strikes readily from cuttings. There is a fine example in the park, just at the entry area gate. There are some excellent dark blue flowered species in Cranbourne Botanic Park. There is also a smaller version with attractive zoned silver leaves with pink and cream edges. Some of these can be seen at Casey Arc swimming pool, in the front entry garden area. This type thrives in richer soil and blends happily with exotics.

It grows well on clay soil, in full to half sun and requires little watering once established. The flowers are usually white, and appear in Spring-summer and every so often through the year. It can be pruned if it gets too leggy. It would also suit non native gardens as a background silver plant to offset pink or blue colour schemes.

Helichrysum apiculatum with daisies

Helichrysum apiculatum with daisies

Helichrysum apiculatum

Is a prostrate grey furry leaved plant with bright yellow golden flowers in tight clusters. It is found in the Wilson Park carpark, in the front middle bed. It is tolerate of long periods of dry soil, and grows well in poor soil. It spreads easily, although it is also easily removed. It can be propagated from cuttings or rooted runners.


There are many different varieties of saltbush, some of which are highly nutritious and used as sheep fodder, and others are being used as a bush food flavouring. For either use, be very sure you have the right species.

They vary from soft leaved prostrate form, to sturdy rugged shrubs. They can be struck from cuttings readily.

There are other silvery leafed natives, such as Emu Bush – Eremophila nivea ‘Spring Mist’, however this one is hard to grow, and does better as on a grafted rootstock. Westringia is another very hardy shrub that shows silvery on the underside of the leaves, which is quite attractive in the wind. Wattles and banksias also have silver leafed varieties.

Happy gardening,

From The Potting Bench.

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