Astelia Silver Shadow 

There are two things that stand out about Astelias : 1. If you never get around to repotting them, they really don't seem to mind and 2. In the wetter parts of New Zealand (from where they come) they grow as epiphytes in trees. Plants that behave like that (there aren't many) seem to derive food and moisture from the atmosphere. They don't seem immensely bothered as to whether they grow in the sun or the shade either. So how can we make these - potentially - beautiful spiky plants happy? Good drainage is clearly a part of it - they hate boggy ground and the other thing is avoid very cold gardens and if in an unusually cold winter, they collapse, cut them down to almost nothing in March and they'll grow back. Remember that plants from New Zealand start growing in relatively low temperatures so don't leave it too late to cut them back. I've seen healthy looking plants with leaves 2ft long and other healthy looking plant with leaves 5ft long. Why does the size they grow to, vary so much?? Clearly the answer is that they get big because they're very happy so to re-phrase the question - what is it that makes them so happy? No easy answers but I hope the above may have cast a little light. 

The last two photos are of Astelias growing permanently in standing water on the margins of Lake Moeraki in South Island N.Z. and - within a few hundred metres - as epiphytes in an ancient Podocarp. In these west coast rain forests they grow in very dense shade and bright sunlight. Astelias are either the world's most adaptable plants or the world's most confusing plants.

All propagated by division (or splitting)

Features Hardiness rating

Hardy in Atlantic Seaboard gardens, The Channel Islands, gardens in Central London (and other large cities) and conservatories.

This is only meant as a guide; there are some plants with red labels that would only survive in extremely favoured spots such as The Isles of Scilly or coastal south-west Ireland.

We're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

Coastal, Conservatories, Exotics, Exposed, Ground Cover, Herbaceous, Evergreen, House Plants, Pots, Soil - Clay, Soil - Dry/Well drained Red

We use cookies to help provide you with the best possible online experience.
By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. You can find out more and set your own preferences here.