Leaf colour

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Fabulous Foliage -

Plants with sil­ver and grey leaves have an ex­tra ad­van­tage as garden plants – they’re su­per tough. That’s be­cause most have evolved in hot dry en­vi­ron­ments, the sil­ver colour of the leaf re­flect­ing the sun’s heat, keep­ing the leaves cooler and releasing less mois­ture. Many species get their colour from a fine layer of leaf hairs – vel­vety-soft lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) is a per­fect ex­am­ple. Be­cause they’re so drought-hardy, sil­ver- and grey-leaved plants gen­er­ally don’t need much main­te­nance, but they do need plenty of sun. Even here, though, there are ex­cep­tions, such as the Aus­tralian na­tive shrub Plec­tran­thus ar­gen­ta­tus which will grow quite hap­pily in shade. Heart-shaped leaves, heav­ily splashed with sil­ver, make this a de­light­ful small peren­nial for bright­en­ing up shady spots. In spring, sprays of small blue flow­ers add ex­tra in­ter­est. It’s great for con­tain­ers on shady veran­dahs or in court­yards. PO­SI­TION Shade or part shade 30cm

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