Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Silvery “Green Thumb Sunday”

Silver Spear
Originally uploaded by gardenwiseguy

I’ve been using this plant more and more in my repertoire. It seems to grow exceptionally well wherever I use it and the impact of the spikey silver foliage can’t be beat.

Astelia chamathia (Silver Spear) is the botanical name, and this gorgeous New Zealand native (actually, the Chatham Islands) is certainly welcome on our shores. Give it good drainage, sun or bright shade around here (Santa Barbara, CA) and can take the coldest nights we get around here (good to about 20 deg. F).

If you’ve got heavy clay soil, you might want to keep it out of the ground and grow it in a pot. For real drama surround it with some purple foliage (maybe Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’) and splash a little yellow-green nearby (I’m a fool for the chartreuse sweet potato – Ipomea).

So this week we’ll call it “Silver Thumb Sunday.”


No Rain said...

It is a nice looking plant. A bit too tropical to grow here, but I would if I could. Happy GTS,

Yolanda Elizabet said...

I love silver and white in the garden too and have been lucky enough to get a whole load of silver and white in my garden last weekend. Check it out.

Merry Christmas Billy!

Curtis said...

Great looking plant. If it would take some of Oklahoma's lows(down to -10 degrees some times) I would love to grow it in my yard. Happy Holidays.

Wicked Gardener said...

If it is somewhat draught tolerant, I'd like to try it. I'm trying to fill a dry part of my yard.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Oh Wicked One: Here's a bit more information on Astelia. I copied this from the web site for San Marcos Growers ( As you'll see the plant becomes more drought tolerant over time. Hope this helps...

Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' (Silver Spear) - Plant in sun or part shade in rich well-drained soil with moderate water. Has a low water requirement once established.