Astelias 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