Silver plants for those grey areas in the garden

Looking for information about a silver palette garden, well here is some free data about indigenous grey coloured plants from Life Landscapes.

In colour psychology grey can be regarded as emotionless, conservative with a degree of sophistication and business. Grey is moody and dull associated with storm clouds, metal, smoke and mirrors.

grey coloured plants


Add some metallic to the mix and grey turns to silver. Silver is associated with high-tech and industrial machines and can be considered more modern and ornate.

Plants with silver or grey leaves for a South African garden

Silver waves  (Cotyledon orbiculata)

This fast-growing succulent adds life to a winter succulent garden with its orange flowers. Its grey  leaves  make for a noticeable addition to a silver palette garden. 

Silver carpet (Dymondia margaretae)

The silver carpet is ideally suited for between stepping stones and courtyards. It get tiny flowers sprouting for its neat and compact leaves. 

Trailing gazania (Gazania rigen)

The flowers and the leaves of the trailing gazania are like a blazing yellow sun set against a grey storm clouds. The burning sunshine yellow flowers will seasonally liven up a grey garden.

Silver leaved shrubs

Silver sweet pea bush (Podalyria sericea)

This shrub adds a silver and silky disposition in a winter rainfall garden. A round and happy bush with  leaves that luster as if plated with silver. 

Wild wormwood (Artemisia afra)

The silver-grey foliage of this medicinal shrub make a noticeable display in a silver palette garden. It is named after the Greek goddess Artemis because of its medical properties. 

Sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia)

Planting a sagewood in silver palette garden? A sterling idea. This bushy tree is a cloud of grey leaves and mauve and pink flowers.  A great shrub for insects and insect-eating birds. 

The Helichrysum species

It should be 50 shades of Helichrysums. Most of the helichrysum species have grey flowering leaves and sunshine yellow flowers, worthy of a yellow palette garden. For the purpose of the blog we focused grey leaves.

  • Kooigoed (Helichrysum petiolare)
  • Poplar helichrysum (Helichrysum populifolium)
  • Mo's Gold (Helichrysum argyrophyllum)
  • Cape gold (Helichrysum splendidum)

Indigenous trees with a grey tinge

Silver Sugarbush (Protea roupelliae Meisn. subsp. Roupelliae)

The silver sugarbush is one of the few protea species that grows in summer rainfall areas and is not endemic to South Africa. This tree gas stunning blue-grey leaves and dark bark. 

Wild olive (Olea europaea subspecies Africana)

The wild olive is an indigenous tree that has dove grey bark and glossy silvery leaves. Occurring almost country-wide it is a robust species as it is resistant to disease, termites and drought. Great for attracting fruit eating birds

False Olive (Buddlejia saligna)

Its white flowers ideal for a moon garden. Similar to the wild olive the false olive has grey-brown bark and ash grey leaves. Makes for a super screen plant and a very good garden addition for gardeners looking to attract butterflies

Wild silver oak  (Brachylaena discolour)

With its messy crown, pale brown bark and bicoloured leaves. It leaves are green on top and wooly and white bellow giving the tree a stunning silver hue. Does well in coastal gardens and a superb tree for bee keepers with its creamy white flowers. 

Cabbage tree species

Reminiscent of the truffula trees from the Lorax, the cabbage trees have grey leaves and an unusual look suited for a grey palette garden. 

  • Common cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata) – country-wide
  • Grey cabbage tree (Cussonia transvaalensis) – northern provinces
  • Mountain Cabbage tree (Cussonia paniculata) – coastal gardens

Silver tree (Leucadendron argenteum)

The silver tree has a fossil grey leaves that reflect sunlight giving the silver tree a literal silver lining. This species is not common and is protected.  It  excellent tree for bringing sunbirds to the garden