Five Frosty Favorites For Your Winter Garden

Cool and refreshing, these silvery selections create winter interest and stay strong all summer long. 

Jack Frost may not be nipping at your plants much this year, but evergreen plant selections with silvery or blue-gray foliage do create a cool effect in your winter garden. Best of all, these five beauties stay gorgeous in a thirst-inducing summer season, too. 

Their frosty appearance is often due to tiny “hairs” and waxy coatings which are adaptations to help prevent water loss. Pro tip for the next time you’re shopping for plants: If a plant is fuzzy, has small leaves, blue-gray leaves or is succulent, it’s probably drought-tolerant. 

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’

Lacy leaves add a silvery look to your landscape that feels frosty in winter and cool even in summer. Aromatic and evergreen, its feathery leaves make it a good choice to add winter interest and it’s freeze-hardy. 

Lacy foliage of Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

Artichoke agave

This small, elegant agave features cool blue-gray leaves and dark purple spines. Situate it carefully within your landscape for an arresting visual. 

Artichoke agave leaves form symmetrical rosette.

Pale-leaf yucca

Enchanting bluish foliage almost makes you shiver and you’ll want to leave space for its rosette to grow without spiking anyone. The cream-colored blooms in late spring practically stop traffic and are great for pollinators. 

Pale-leaf yucca flowers.

Gray santolina

This Mediterranean groundcover is not only fragrant, it is also freeze-hardy and deer repellant. I’m not sure why, but the loveliness of its yellow blooms always surprises me. 

Grey santolina leaves and flowers.

Jerusalem sage

Delightfully silver-lined and fuzzy, the leaves of this deer-resistant Mediterranean native are evergreen so you can enjoy them all winter long. Then the spring show starts with a profusion of yellow blossoms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 

Jerusalem sage leaves and flowers.

Warm Winter Runners-Up

Here are a couple selections for a frosted look in a warm winter only — these plants may melt away if temperatures dip below zero. 

Silver ponyfoot

A trailing habit and adorable round leaves make silver ponyfoot a great groundcover or “spiller” plant for containers. 

Silverleaf ponyfoot leaves

Woolly stemodia

Evergreen only in warm winters, woolly stemodia’s fuzzy leaves are adapted to preventing water loss through evaporation. It’s a great option for a groundcover in sun-blasted spots. 

Cool colors create a relaxing feel, so try these drought-hardy options for a year-round chill vibe.

Picture of Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet is a conservation planner whose large garden attracts a myriad of wildlife and curious neighbors with minimal water. At SAWS, Kodet develops outdoor programs to help people create their own beautiful, water-saving landscapes. She draws on her two decades of experience as a naturalist, botanical garden educator and event planner. Kodet enjoys (really) long walks in the woods and has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail.
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