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Astelia

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Astelia is a very beautiful evergreen perennial reminiscent of Phormium, which is also native to New Zealand. Ornamental and striking, astelia is an on-trend plant, particularly popular in contemporary settings.

While the genus has about 30 species, it is the Astelia chathamica Silver Shadow, a superb hybrid selected in 2004, that is now commonly found for sale. From the Liliaceae family, Astelia is a large rhizomatous plant that forms a dense, slightly trailing and tousled clump, reaching over a metre in height. Its long wide leaves, covered in bristles, display magnificent metallic reflections, silver or bronze depending on the varieties, that play with the light. Its flowers are small and discreet, in white, cream or yellow, often hidden by the foliage. Its fruits, on the other hand, are vividly coloured. Astelia prefers mild climates and fresh, non-alkaline soils.

Hardy down to -7°C (19.4°F), it will particularly thrive on the Atlantic coast. In an ericaceous bed it contrasts beautifully with other plants such as azaleas, Phormiums, Crocosmias or Perovskias. It also grows very well in pots everywhere else.

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