Gardening with greys

Plants with grey foliage are often very hardy and are ideal for low water zones. The light coloured foliage reflects the sun’s rays away from the plant, thereby keeping the plant cooler, which in turn reduces transpiration.

With blue-, silvery- or powdery-grey foliage to choose from, you can create a contrast to the existing greenery, an eye-catching impact to foliage and flowers of other colours, and assist in both co-ordinating or delineating various areas of the garden. Most grey foliage plants thrive in hot, dry climates and many do well where little else wants to grow. They usually require very well drained soil and full sun to keep their striking grey colour. Often, the harsher the conditions, the better they thrive. The following are some suggestions of suitable ‘grey’ plants, most of which are endemic to the Eastern Cape.

Ground covers

Senecio radicans (baboon toes), Geranium incanum (carpet geranium), Pelargonium reniforme, Helichrysum species (everlastings), Tulbaghia violacea (Wild garlic ‘Silver lace), Gazania varieties, Arctotis stoechadifolia (Silver arctotis)

Pelargonium reniforme
Helichrysm petiolare
Artotis var.


Buddleja species (sage), Tarchonanthus camphoratus (camphor bush), Salvia africana-lutea (beach sage), Sutherlandia frutescens (Cancer bush), Eriocaphalus africanus (Wild rosemary), Lobostomon fruticosus (Pyjama bush).

Artemesia afra
Eriocephalus africanus
Salvia africana lutea


Cotyledon orbiculata varieties, Kalanchoe luciea, Crassula perfoliata, Oscularia deltoides, Senecio articularis (Sausage plant), Senecio crassulifolius (Grey bush Senecio) and grey leaf aloes including Aloe striata (Coral aloe) and Aloe tenuior.

Senecio talinoides
Cotyledon orbiculata var. spuria
Ruschia sp.


Many thanks Lorraine for a most informative tour of your well stocked nursery on the 1st August, attended by the Bathurst Garden Club members. We all had a fantastic morning & went home feeling inspired.

I have a narrow (3m) alley down the side of my house, that wall is low and the sun beats into our bedrooms on that side so 13 years ago I planted an Elder which formed a perfect hedge; tall and narrow to shade the rooms and provide privacy. Now my husband has cut the whole thing down as our neighbors have said that it was breaking their pipes.
I now need a new perfect hedge. Indigenous this time.
I was thinking of a Silver trees mixed with something else because they are a bit spindly, but the wall is South facing and they like that and it is sheltered from the wind, but it gets very wet in winter.
Rhus is too broad,I will spend all my time pruning and they seem to stay low in my garden.
I need a big shrub; about 5m that grows quickly and more slender than bushy. Not a tree because they don't do well in our sandy soil, which has a layer of Coffeeklip a few metres down. The only tree that is doing well is a White Stinkwood but it took years to get any height.
The birds used to love the Elder and we could see them out of the windows so a Wild dagga maybe? or Haleria? Do they get to a decent height?
Our area is on the slopes of Tygerberg hill so that is Rinostervelt or Lowlands Vynbos I think. We are winter rainfall.
What would you recommend?
Thank you

Add new comment

Bottom Border