Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Shadow’

Kakaha, Maori Flax, Silver Shadow

Astelia chathamica ‘Silver Shadow’ is the sister of the A.chatamica ‘Silver Spear’.

This cultivar is a lower growing one, with a tufted look, denser than the ‘Silver Spear’, but featuring the same striking silvery blade like leaves.

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Origin: New Zealand
Genus: Astelia
Species / Cultivar: chatamica 'Silver Shadow'
Common Name: Kakaha, Maori Flax, Silver Shadow

Plant Biography

With a striking display of silvery swords, the Astelia chathamica is one of the most recognizable members of the newly discovered Astelia family which comprises of around 25 species, originating in Chatham Island of New Zealand.

The ‘Silver Shadow’ variety is a hybrid between Astelia chathamica and Astelia nervosa, and it was introduced into cultivation recently. It features a denser look than Astelia ‘Silver Spear’.

Kakaha pairs pairs or contrasts well with a wide variety of plants, but also works perfectly as a specimen in a container: black, galvanised, or terracotta all work very well.

Astelia 'Silver Shadow'
Soil: Well drained
Soil that does not show much signs of moisture, either visibly or when handled.
Growth Rate: Medium
Expect to see moderate growth during growing season.
Final Size: Small
Will stay small enough for a desk or shelf.
Water Requirement: Medium
Once it is established, this plant is likely to only require watering during drier periods.
Maintenance: Low
Minimal skill or input needed beyond the basics, a very independent plant.
Situation: Full Sun to Part Shade
Enjoys direct sun most of the day, but tolerant of fewer sunlit hours or light dappling.
Eventual Height: 1.0m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Will need protection from frosts in order to survive winter, eg. with fleece jacket.
Habit: Evergreen
Always in leaf throughout the year. It won't lose all its leaves at any one time.
Lifecycle: Perennial
This plant is persistant and does not die off after flowering. It will return each season indefinitely, if provided with suitable growing conditions.

Expert Tip

For a chic, modern planting scheme contrast this structural plant with Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' in a lightly shaded position. It also pairs especially well when paired with other mixed herbaceous.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Greenish yellow flowers in spring, turning to orange fruits in autumn, add to the attraction. They will grow in any soil but perform best in well draining soil and so long if they are never short of moisture.

The plant is cold hardy down to -3 degrees and evergreen, however it will require some protection from frost in winter with a horticultural fleece. If it collapses in an extremely cold winter, cut the foliage back in March and it will grow once again.

The Silver Shadow Flax is ideal for coastal gardens as the stiff leaves are fairly tolerant to windy conditions.