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GardenSMART :: Grow These Plants to Look Like a Professional Landscape Designer

Grow These Plants to Look Like a Professional Landscape Designer

By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Gardening Expert
Photographs courtesy of Costa Farms

Planning is the most important part of garden design. Pick the right plants – those that grow well together, get to the size you need them to, and have a look you like – and you'll have an attractive yard that's easy to take care of. It's fairly easy to list plants that like your growing conditions and narrow down which ones you like best. But for a lot of gardeners, choosing ones that look good together can be trickier. Happily, there's one garden design secret that always works: Add silver foliage.

Silver foliage is a neutral color in the garden, so it works with everything. Paired with cool pinks, blues, and purples, it creates a soft, elegant look. Matched with hot colors like reds, oranges, and yellows, silver serves a sizzling contrast. When repeated throughout a landscape, silver foliage adds the type of consistent element professional landscapers depend on.

Here are five easy-to-grow plants with gorgeous silvery foliage.

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This perennial practically has it all: Like most silver-foliage plants, it's heat and drought resistant. It's also deer and rabbit tolerant and fantastically textural. There are a wealth of varieties available, too, that come in different shapes and sizes. If you have a hot, sunny spot, you can count on artemisia to be a perfect plant partner for traditional favorites like black-eyed Susan, coneflower, daylilies, iris, and phlox.

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Dichondra 'Silver Falls'

An amazingly elegant annual, Silver Falls dichondra is a groundcover that creates a silvery carpet beneath taller plants like peonies, salvia, and snapdragons. Grow it near a wall or in a container basket, and it will spill over the side like an icy waterfall. It grows best in full sun, but tolerates part shade. It's also delightfully drought tolerant.

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Dusty Miller

A tried-and-true favorite that's sometimes overlooked, easy-care dusty miller is an annual that can be used in practically any sunny garden, planter, or pot. Like artemisia, it brings a lot of texture along with its silvery foliage. It's well suited to pairing with other easy-care, heat loving plants, including angelonia, scaevola, and annual vinca.

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Succulents are growing increasingly trendy. Silvery echeveria varieties, such as E. elegans, E. lilacina, and E. peacockii may be perfect for you if you're looking for a stunning look with plants that don't need a lot of water. They thrive in raised beds, container gardens, and hanging baskets – either by themselves, or mixed with other succulents and low-water annuals and perennials.

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Though most folks typically think about lavender for its fragrant blooms, it's the silvery foliage we love most (along with its sweet scent, of course). Perfectly suited to mass plantings, you can also create ribbons of lavender to draw the eye through your sunny yard. Or plant it in pockets here and there to add a sense of repetition to your space.


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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photos courtesy of Suntory Flowers

As summer heats up, the garden party is just beginning for gorgeous, tropical mandevillas. To learn more click here for an interesting article.

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