Want to bling up your garden? Add silvery leafed plants as borders

That sudden glint of silver on a leaf? That is the bling of the plant world. There are a number of plants that could add silver to your garden. Silver helps tone down bold, hot reds, yellows, and oranges, yet harmonizes with deep green and even looks good just as a border along a lawn. In fact a silvery-leafed plant is particularly effective in the shade, where a little bit of glitz is needed to perk the area up.

Try adding a Peacock plant (Calathea sp) which is one of the more commonly available types of Calathea, to your garden. All have silver and green markings on upper leaf surfaces with a reddish purple reverse, making them attractive when viewed from above or below. Calatheas are some of the boldest, most dramatic foliage plants around and are, like the bird, very decorative and showy. While the foliage may not contain the exact colours of the peacock, they display vivid shades of green and maroon, like the stunning peacock’s tail.

Another beauty with a lot of silver in its leaves is the Rex Begonia, which are grown primarily for the dazzling foliage, it may produce pink or white blossoms in bright light. It's a time-tested favourite of gardeners. Keep the soil evenly moist and avoid water logging, which will quickly cause rot to set into its roots.

Old Bangalorean, Prema Rajan shares, “We had at least 20 varieties of them in the garden. And there were the regular begonias too.” Pratima Das an avid gardener says, “Too much water and fertilizer is the kiss of death for the plant. Soggy soil and prolonged wet leaves and stems can lead to rot, while highly-concentrated fertilizer will burn the foliage. If you keep these points in mind when caring for your begonias, you can enjoy them for several years.”

The metallic-silver splotches of the aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei) makes it an attractive tabletop plant or hanging basket. If the plant gets too scraggly indoors, move it to brighter light and pinch it back, to force more compact growth. This plant loves the sun and minimum watering.

Another plant with silvery leaves is the Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina). The most widely available form of this easy-care vine has leaves with olive and silver striping on top and purplish maroon underneath. The plants grow easily from stem cuttings stuck in moist soil or water. Besides offering great foliage, it is also extra-easy to grow and propagate.

Silver enchants green-dominated landscapes, visually underlining variations in greens that would otherwise go unnoticed.