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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Astelia ‘Silver Shadow’: Evergreen perennial for inside and out

Posted by Graham Rice on 30 Dec 2012 at 05:06 PM

Astelia ‘Silver Shadow’: Evergreen perennial for inside and out. Image ©PlantIppAstelias are unusual perennials. Most silver foliage plants grow best in relatively dry conditions but astelias are more adaptable. They grow naturally in boggy places in New Zealand and so will take more moisture in gardens than you might expect; but they've also proven to be drought tolerant.

The problem is that although they make very effective foliage plants for the late spring and the summer, in autumn and especially in winter they can look rather ragged.

The smart approach comes in two parts. First, try this new Astelia hybrid - ‘Silver Shadow'. A cross between two of the most widely grown species, A. chathamica and A. nervosa, it's vigorous, it develops into an impressively architectural specimen up to 39in/1m high and it has more brightly silvered leaves than any others astelias.

The second part of the plan is to grow Astelia ‘Silver Shadow' in a pot. A matching aluminium pot, perhaps, or a black pot, or a terracotta pot. It will make an impressive patio specimen, or a fine focal point, right through the summer in a part of the garden that's looking dull after being at its best in winter or early spring.

In autumn, bring the plant into a cool conservatory, a sheltered porch or anywhere that is protected from battering wind and rain and from the worst of the frost. It will stay looking pristine right through the winter - and in spring you can move it outside again. And with that extra-silvery foliage, you'll be able to enjoy Astelia ‘Silver Shadow' right through the winter.

You can order Astelia ‘Silver Shadow' from Cotswold Garden Plants and from Crowders.

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