Native to forests of New Zealand, Astelia grasses are evergreen perennials that are prized for their decorative, silvery arching foliage. The cultivar Astelia nervosa Westland is one of the most popular varieties as well as the hardiest. This makes it best suited for growing in UK climatic conditions, particularily where an ornamental grass for shade is required.
Stunning sword-like, metallic green and silver foliage make this an architectural plant worthy of a place in a sheltered spot in the garden. Growing in tight clumps, the silvery glinted leaves tend to turn to red / bronze under the effect of cold winter temperatures. Astelia nervosa Westland will grow to a max. height of around 2 feet by 2 feet (60 cm).
Astelia plants are prized for their decorative silver foliage. While they do flower, the flowers are unremarkable and appear at the plant base. However, there are very few silver-leaved plants that thrive in the shade, particularly those with exotic features. Consequently, Astelia nervosa Westland is an ideal as an ornamental grass for shade. It is often used where an architectural emphasis of structure and colour is required in ornamental beds with shade. The silver tones in the foliage can be put to superb use in a shady corner of the garden, adding rich sharp sword-like foliage and colour where it is least expected, such as underplanting for a larger tree or shrub.
Astelia nervosa Westland is sometimes used as part of a mineral garden, on a bed of shale or pebble. You will often find it planted 'en masse' to stunning effect.
Native to crowded forest conditions, Astelia quite liking to have their roots restricted. This makes them an excellent choice for growing in pots. The silvery bronze arching foliage will happily adorn any patio or terrace from a terra cotta container.
Astelia nervosa Westland is hardy to around - 5 ° C and should be planted in a sheltered spot.
As exotic as they may look, Astelia nervosa prefer partial shade and damp conditions to full sun and dry conditions. They like to be well-watered in the growing season. Remember to remove old (dead and damaged) leaves from the base of the plant to prevent rotting.