In this article, silver leaf plants in containers will be discussed. If you use silver, grey or grey-green foliage plants can selectively transform a container display. I have in the past discussed other leave plants that can be used in containers
This is because silver-leaved plants add contrast and points of interest, to bring elegance to planting combination. This is because they will bring attention to flowers of many coloured blooms. Silver plants combine well with flowers that are white, pink, red, blue or burgundy. The silver leaf highlights these colour schemes very well.
More importantly, there also look very attractive on their own or combined with other plants. For example, combining a silver leaf plant with red salvia are simply stunning.
A big advantage of silver leave plants is that in shady areas, they tend to be noticed, where dark green leave plants will blend and be hidden. Silver and green leaves make stunning displays, so will mix well in more complementary displays.
Just think about Christmas decoration, where greens, golds, silvers, and reds combine so well to brighten homes. This is also true in the garden.
Silver leaf plants also look good in the moonlight, where they can be enjoyed during a midnight walk in the garden.
Plants that look good on their own, with other colourful flowers, with green leave plants, in the shade, and in moonlight, makes silver leaf plants the star in the container garden. It does not matter if the silver leave plant flowers are not particularly breathtakingly beautiful, as the leaves are the main attraction to be found.
The following plants have silver leaves, and will make an excellent addition to any container garden:
SANTOLINA CHAMAECYPARISSUS (Cotton Lavender)
A 75cm tall rounded perennial that has finely divided foliage that is silvery-white in colour and is woolly. In summer, yellow pompon-like flowers appear, which needs to be trimmed back after the display has finished. Grow this perennial in multipurpose compost in full sun.
SENECIO ‘Angel Wings’
This is an evergreen perennial that has rounded, silver leaves. The leaves are soft and velvety to the touch, making them ideal as a sensory garden plant. This plant is ideal as a foliage plant, where it can act as a focal point. This 40cm tall plant is generally easy to look after. Grow it in a container full of gritty multipurpose compost in full sun. The plant does not like it too wet and would appreciate being moved to a sheltered area in winter.
PEROVSKIA ATRIPLICIFOLIA (Russian Sage) ‘Silvery Blue’
This 1.2m tall woody perennial has erect, white stems that are covered in deeply cut, silvery green leaves. In late summer to early autumn heads of lavender-blue flowers appear. Grow this perennial in multipurpose compost in full sun. You can leave the stems as a feature in winter, where the white will look stunning at this drab time of year.
SENECIO CINERARIA (Cineraria)
This 30cm tall bushy, evergreen subshrub is often grown as an annual. It loves and does well in coastal areas. The plant has deeply lobed, silver leaves, and in summer daisy-like yellow flowers appear. For best displays, it is best to remove the flowers, where instead the leaves will contrast with other more colourful flowers. This subshrub does best when planted in a container full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
A 60cm tall spreading evergreen shrub that is grown for its narrow, oblong-shaped metallic silver leaves. In summer, white trumpet-shaped flowers appear that open from pink flower buds. Grow this small shrub in a large container full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
BRUNNERA ‘Alexander’s Great’
This is a 90cm tall perennial that is clump-forming, where silver veined green leaves appear in large number, where it will look stunning mixed with other containers full of brightly coloured plants and blooms. In spring, wiry stems full of blue flowers appear. Grow this perennial in a large container full of multipurpose compost in full sun, partial shade or total shade,
Another variety to look out for is ‘Jack Frost’
This short-lived perennial is a clump-forming plant. From a rosette, broad oval-shaped, woolly, silver leaves appear that are aromatic. In late summer erect stems bearing white flowers appear. Grow this 1m tall plant in a large container full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
ATHYRIUM NIPONICUM VAR. PICTUM (Japanese Painted Fern)
This 30cm tall deciduous fern has deeply cut, green-silvery leaves that has some purple highlights. Grow it in a very large container full of multipurpose compost in partial shade. Will need watering well in summer and protection from hard winter frosts.
A short 25cm tall, tender, evergreen perennial that is grown for it silver-edged green-tinted with some purple heart-shaped leaves. The silver coil in the centre of the leaves is very distinctive. Grow this beautiful plant in a sheltered container full of multipurpose compost in partial shade. Will need to be moved inside a conservatory or greenhouse before the first frosts hit.
DICHONDRA ARGENTEA (Silver Ponyfoot) ‘Silver Falls’
A 50cm tall trailing evergreen perennial that has silver stems. Along the stems, shiny, rounded green-silver leaves are produced. Plant this quick-growing perennial in hanging baskets or window boxes full of multipurpose compost in partial shade.
HEUCHERA ‘Sugar Frosting’
This compact semi-evergreen perennial has mounds of burgundy leaves that have silver markings on them, which intensifies as the leaves age. This feature makes the plant in high demand. In summer 45cm tall spray of flowers appear on wiry stem. Grow this perennial in multipurpose compost in full sun.
This is an evergreen shrub that has greyish-green oval-shaped leaves, where on felted white stems yellow flowers appear en masse.
Grow this 1.5m tall shrub in a large container full of multipurpose compost in full sun or partial shade.
This low clump-forming perennial has extremely silver foliage, where in spring blue, white, or pink flowers appear. This 30cm tall perennial leaves often die back in summer. Grow this perennial in a multipurpose compost in a large container in partial shade.
LYCHNIS CORONARIA (Rose Campion)
This is a clump-forming, short-lived perennial which is often grown as a biennial. The leaves are oval-shaped, grey and slightly downy. In mid to late summer, small, round, pink flowers appear on top of stems. It flowers for a long period of time, where it will grow up to 60cm in height. Grow it in a pot full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
CERINTHE MAJOR (Honeywell) ‘ Purpurascens’
This 60cm tall upright annual has erect stems, where oval grey-green leaves appear that are topped with tubular, purple and yellow flowers appear in summer. The stems may be too heavy and require some support. Grow this perennial in a large pot full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
ERYNGIUM GIGANTEUM (Sea Holly)
This 90cm tall upright, short-lived perennial has marbled heart-shaped grey-green leaves. On top of tall stems, cone-like silvery-grey flowers appear in summer, which is surrounded by spiky bracts.
Grow in large containers full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
HELICHRYSUM ITALICUM (Curry Plant)
This 60cm tall bushy, evergreen shrub that is grown for its slender, silvery- green leaves. The leaves have a curry scent, where in summer domed clusters of small bright yellow flowers appear on uprights stems. Grow it in gritty multipurpose compost in a pot in full sun.
AGAVE (Century Plant) ‘Silver Surfer’
This is a tender, perennial succulent that is grown for its fleshy sword-like silvery-green pointed leaves. Grow this 60cm tall attractive plant in a very large container full of gritty multipurpose compost in full sun. It is not fully hardy and will need protection from frosts.
STACHYS BYZANTINA (Lamb’s Ears)
A relevantly short evergreen, mat-forming perennial that has soft, silvery–grey leaves. In summer, small spikes of mauve-pink flowers appear.
It is drought tolerant and will quickly spread when planted in a multipurpose compost in a large container in full sun, where it will grow up to 45cm in height.
LAVANDULA AUGUSTIFOLIA (English Lavender)
This is an evergreen shrub which had slim, aromatic grey-silvery leaves. This 80cm tall plant bear tall spikes of small, fragrant violet-blue flowers in summer. Grow this shrub in gritty multipurpose compost in full sun or partial shade.
This 1m small, aromatic evergreen shrub has fine divide silvery leaves. It makes a foil for stronger coloured flowers in other containers. In late summer and autumn, small yellow flower heads are produced.
Grow this shrub in gritty multipurpose compost in a large container in full sun. It can become leggy and so should be pruned hard in spring to keep it neat and compact. In cold, wet area it is best to move it to a conservatory or greenhouse.
ARTEMESIA STELLERIANA ‘Boughton Silver’
This attractive 15cm short perennial forms a low spreading clump. It has silvery-grey leaves and looks great when planted against darker foliage plants in a mixed container set. The flowers are nothing to write home about, so it is best to remove then to give more attention to the leaves. Grow it in a container full of multipurpose compost in full sun.
This 60cm small evergreen shrub has white woolly stems. The stems are clothed in rounded, grey-green leaves, where in summer spikes of small purple-pink flowers appear.
Grow it in a gritty multipurpose compost where little fertilizer has been added in a large container in full sun.
It is not fully hardy and may not survive cold, wet winters. It is best, therefore, to move them into a greenhouse or conservatory. If you do not and it survives, you will need to cut it back hard to keep it bushy in spring. Makes excellent contrast this silver leaf plant to colourful flowers.
In this article, growing silver leaf plants in containers have been discussed. As you can see there is a large collection that will brighten any container display. The flower may not be attractive but the fireworks as the different shaped, silver leaves. They will really brighten up your container flower display.
If you want to ask me about any silver related plant question or any comment you wish to make, please do so in the comment box below,
Remember silver is now the new black.