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Plants with Silver Leaves for Australian Gardens

Plants with silver leaves can add a certain softness and sophistication to your garden. You’ll find that these plants will blend equally well with green foliage plants and brightly coloured blooms.

If used wisely, these plants can add another landscaping dimension to the overall appeal of your garden.

You’ll also find that plants with silver leaves have adapted to survive in high-heat conditions and are often drought-tolerant. 

Here is a selection of silver-leaved plants that you can add to your garden.

Blue Chalk Sticks (Senecio mandraliscae)

Blue Chalk Sticks Senecio mandraliscae | Plant varieties

This hardy succulent ground cover has the most outstanding silvery-blue fleshy leaves. It’s ideal for growing under taller plants if you have a water-wise garden as it’s highly drought-tolerant.

The plant only grows to a height of around 30 cm but will spread up to 90 cm over the soil. It will produce yellow daisy-like flowers if grown in full sun. 

Blue Fescue Grass (Festuca glauca)

Blue Fescue Grass Festuca glauca | Plant varieties

If you love the look of tufted grasses, you should add blue fescue to your garden. The grassy leaves are a soft silvery-blue colour and can add some softness to more stark areas in your garden.

This plant is ideal for growing in rockeries or along borders. It would also look great when grown in tall pots near your front door.

Curry Plant (Helichrysum italicum)

Curry Plant Helichrysum italicum | Plant varieties

This is a lovely soft-looking plant that has silvery foliage and umbels of bright yellow button flowers on tall stems. The plant also emits a curry scent when the leaves are crushed or brushed past. 

It can grow to a height of 90 cm and a width of 50 cm. It looks fantastic when planted en masse along a border or beside a path or driveway. It can also be grown as a low informal hedge.

Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)

Dusty Miller Senecio cineraria | Plant varieties

This is maybe one of the best plants with silver leaves. The silvery-white leaves are soft and velvety with heavily lobed edges. The plant also produces yellow flowers in spring and can grow to a height of around 0.5 metres.

Echeveria

Peacock Echeveria | Plant varieties

There are numerous varieties of the popular Echeveria succulent that have gorgeous silvery-grey leaves. These hardy succulents are ideal for rock gardens and arid garden areas as they are extremely drought-tolerant and will survive in full sun conditions. 

French Lavender (Lavandula dentata)

French Lavender Lavandula dentata | Plant varieties

French lavender has the softest silvery-green leaves that have fringed edges. This variety of lavender can flower from early summer into late autumn and has the most delightful soft fragrance. 

Kalanchoe ‘Silver Spoons’ (Kalanchoe bracteata)

Kalanchoe ‘Silver Spoons Kalanchoe bracteata | Plant varieties

This is another succulent that has silvery spoon-shaped fleshy leaves. It’s also a fairly low-growing plant that only reaches a height and width of around 1 metre. In spring, the plant produces tall flower spikes with orange and red blooms. 

This plant is also very drought-tolerant and can be grown in full sun or even part shade.

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys lanata)

Lambs Ear Stachys lanata | Plant varieties

This pretty perennial is one of my favourites. I simply love the large silvery leaves that are so soft to the touch. In summer, these plants have lavender-like purple flowers that rise above the foliage.

In my last garden, I had these growing in full sun as a border plant and they coped well with the hot summer weather and little watering. I took some plants with me when I moved and I now have them growing in a much more shaded spot because I only have limited sunny spots in my current garden.

They are doing extremely well growing in semi-shade and still flower well in summer. In general, they only get watered by the rain or when we’ve had a number of hot, dry days in a row.

Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii)

Cushion Bush Leucophyta brownii | Plant varieties

This is another silver-leaved plant that is perfect for coastal gardens. It produces masses of round pale gold or silver flowers in summer. 

This is another low-maintenance plant and requires minimal pruning thanks to its natural round shape. Being low-growing, it only reaches a maximum height and spread of 1.2 metres.

The cushion bush can be grown in full sun or light shade and will handle almost any soil type. It even tolerates light frost and is drought-hardy.

Salvia ‘Silver Sage’

Salvia argentea silver sage | Plant varieties

Many varieties of Salvia have silver leaves, but this cultivar is one of the more outstanding ones. The silver colour on the leaves is created by a soft fuzzy coating which also makes them supremely soft to the touch. 

Saltbush (Rhagodia)

Rhagodia spinescens Spiny Saltbush cropped | Plant varieties

People who live in coastal areas would be familiar with Saltbush. However, it’s a plant that is perfect for almost every garden around the country except for those in tropical regions.

Saltbush has soft silvery green leaves and is almost indestructible. It will grow in desert regions and coastal areas as well as in a whole range of soils both sandy and clay.

This hardy plant only grows to a height of around 1.2 metres but can spread over an area of over 3 metres, making it perfect as a ground cover, a low-growing hedge, or a rockery plant.

Silverbush (Convolvulus cneorum)

Silverbush Convolvulus cneorum | Plant varieties

This lovely ground cover has delightful silvery leaves and masses of elegant snowy white flowers with yellow centres in summer. Apart from being a pretty silver colour, the leaves also have a gorgeous velvety feel.

This attractive garden plan only reaches a height of around 60 cm but will spread to cover an area of up to 1 metre. 

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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