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Silver King Artemisia
Silver Leaves Worth Their Weight in Gold
Plants with silver foliage are attractive in their own right but work especially well in combination with flowers. Thus the popularity of annual planting beds featuring the silver leaves of dusty miller and the red flowers of salvia, for instance. Like white flowers, silver foliage is also effective in "moonlight gardens." Browse these pictures of silver foliage plants for ideas -- and for caveats.
Silver King artemisia plants grow 2'-3' high. A rapid spreader, Silver King artemisia plants may be a bit too vigorous for those worried about harboring aggressive plants. But if you want them to take over and fill in an area, you can divide them in spring.
Their attractive silvery foliage has become the base or accent for many a fall wreath. In the picture above, notice how nicely the silvery foliage of Silver King artemisia complements the yellow flowering plants in the background. But color is only part of the appeal of Silver King artemisia. The foliage's fine texture is also useful in providing contrast within a planting bed. Silver Queen is a similar artemisia plant but is more compact. Planting zones 3-9.Continue to 2 of 16 below.
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Lavender's Silver Leaves
Gazing on the silver foliage of lavender in winter is a delight. Foliage plants offer visual interest during those times when, in cold climates, the idea of flowers is caught somewhere between a distant memory and the seemingly impossible dream of spring.Continue to 3 of 16 below.
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Russian sage (Perovskia) is a perennial flower. In the case of Russian sage, it's the stems, even more so than the foliage, that inject a silver color into your landscape design. The profusion of its delicate flowers (which are of secondary importance to the vegetation), its gray-green leaves and its silver stems all work to give Russian sage an airy look.Continue to 4 of 16 below.
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Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) is a type of lamium with variegated foliage (silver flecks on a green background) and a yellow flower. Lamium plants are suitable for shade gardens. Also known as "dead nettle," don't confuse lamium with the weed, stinging nettle. As shown in the picture, the leaves of this ground cover are variegated, but the color that stands out is the silver. This plant is also known to be deer resistant.Continue to 5 of 16 below.
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You can grow licorice plants (Helichrysum petiolare) as perennials in zones 9, 10 and 11. But further north than that, these viny, silver-leafed plants are treated as annuals. For this reason, it's common to see licorice plants used in containers. Licorice plant is also called "trailing dusty miller."Continue to 6 of 16 below.
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Silver-Leaved Poplar Trees
Silver-leaved poplar trees (Populus alba) derive their name from the silvery look of the underside of their foliage while the top of the leaf is dark green. Unfortunately, silver-leaved poplar trees are considered invasive in North America, so planting them is not recommended. Poplar trees with more typical foliage color include Lombardy poplar and quaking aspen.Continue to 7 of 16 below.
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Spotted Deadnettle (or "Lamium")
The spotted deadnettle plants, displaying an attractive silvery foliage.
The spotted deadnettle or Lamium maculatum Purple Dragon has purple blooms. There is another variety which features a spotted deadnettle with a white-colored flower (Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy'). The lamiums are perhaps most often grown for their foliage. This spotted deadnettle can be grown in hardiness zones 4-8. If you have trouble with marauding deer pests eating your plants, you won't have to worry about spotted deadnettle, since deer tend to leave it alone. The white-flowered lamiums mentioned above stay rather short (generally under one foot in height), but they can attain a width of about three feet, making them ideal for a ground cover.Continue to 9 of 16 below.
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Japanese Painted Fern Picture
The Japanese painted ferns (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum') are shade plants that have silver foliage punctuated with a purplish color.
Unhappily, these plants are susceptible to rabbit damage. If you have bunnies turning your garden into a salad bar they'll definitely be heaping their plates with these beautiful ferns.Continue to 10 of 16 below.
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Snow in Summer Flowers
Snow in summer or Cerastium tomentosum's silvery foliage is just as impressive as its snow-white blooms. This flow is an eye-catching addition to any garden.Continue to 11 of 16 below.
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Jack Frost Brunnera
Jack Frost Brunnera is named for the frosty appearance of its silver leaves. One of the plant's common names is Siberian bugloss. The much taller Italian bugloss, incidentally, is an entirely different (albeit related) plant.
Brunnera macrophylla Jack Frost is a perennial plant with blue flowers that bloom in spring. These blue flowers are reminiscent of those on forget-me-nots. But the green and silver leaves of the plant make a statement throughout the growing season. Divide this perennial during spring.Continue to 12 of 16 below.
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Lamb's Ears Plants
The botanical name for Lamb's ears is Stachys byzantina. This plant can spread quite a bit, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
The problem with many "good" groundcovers is that they can be invasive (i.e., they sometimes do their job too well). You'll have to decide what's more important to you: getting that bare patch of earth covered with an attractive plant that will suppress weeds, or staying away from aggressive spreaders, lest they become a nuisance.
Lamb's ears is valued primarily for its interesting leaves, not its flowering ability. But for those interested, it sends up tall flower spikes with purple blossoms.Continue to 14 of 16 below.
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Bearing tall spikes of yellow flowers, common mullein plants (Verbascum thapsis) have silvery leaves. You'll often see mullein plants growing wild along roadsides.Continue to 15 of 16 below.
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Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) is named for its blooms, but its silver leaves are also an asset. Garden phlox, with its "normal" green foliage, stands in the background in this Lychnis coronaria picture.Continue to 16 of 16 below.
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Dusty Miller Plants
Dusty miller plants also go by the name Silver Dust cultivar (Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust'). While its silvery color is striking, this plant has more than just color going for it. The delicate foliage texture of 'Silver Dust' dusty miller, with its deep indentations along the edges, contrasts strikingly with adjacent plants whose leaves have smoother edges, whether it be geraniums or red salvia.