Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Silver Tree
Leucadendron argenteum

Family: Proteaceae (pro-tee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Leucadendron (lew-kuh-DEN-dron) (Info)
Species: argenteum (ar-JEN-tee-um) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive boomboer On Mar 10, 2011, boomboer from Cape Town
South Africa wrote:

The Silver Tree is the iconic tree of Table Mountain, Cape Town, colouring its cooler slopes in shades of pewter. It is extemely susceptible to Phytophthora, which did not occur in South Africa until a century or so ago. This is why it sometimes just wilts away - even tall, settled trees. Its native soil is a mineral rich, acidic, weathered granite sandy loam with a high stone content (good drainage) that is soaked in winter and baked dry in summer. Any Mediterranean type climate should be suitable. I would add an anti-fungal once a month or so during watering to avoid phytophthora wilt. Cape Town is famously windy at times and this tree handles it with ease - the forests flashing silver as the breeze brushes through them.

Positive mahina On Aug 18, 2009, mahina from Hawi, HI wrote:

There is a magnificent Silver Tree specimen at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, in Santa Cruz, CA. The foliage is mysteriously reflective, pale aqua-silver; the tree's form is rather like a tall, overgrown shrub. The flowers are not immediately apparent, as they mimic the leaves of the branches' growth tips. But their fragrance is delicious! I kept circling back in a walk through the arboretum, which is home to many wonderful plants, to spend more time with this tree.

Positive grapesie On Apr 27, 2009, grapesie from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I've grown this plant very easily from seed. It took about two months to germinate in the lathe house. Cuttings and air-layering can be done too, if you have an existing plant. It likes windy conditions and no fertilizer; any extended frost will kill it. My plants have done well in San Francisco, which has a Mediterranean climate similar to its South African home.

Neutral htop On Mar 7, 2008, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this plant; however, I have observed it growing in Maui, Hawaii at the Kula Botanical Garden. It is a beautiful plant that really stands out when sunlight strikes the unusual foliage.

Positive Happenstance On Aug 23, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Like silver lame the hairs on the leaves shine like silver in the light. It is a tough South African plant, that is fairly finicky. Before putting it in the ground I will winter it in the greenhouse and then hope for the best. Even in their native habitat these trees can collapse and die pretty much overnight for no apparent reason.

Doesn't like standing water or having its roots disturbed.

Neutral kennedyh On Aug 14, 2003, kennedyh from Churchill, Victoria
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

Not an Australian native. We have a lot of Proteaceae in Australia, but Leucadendron is an African genus and this species is from South Africa.

Neutral palmbob On Aug 13, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is an incredible looking tree, but a tough grow for me. I think my clay did it in. It needs a really well draining soil and NO alkalinity... it also is fussy about phosphorus (doesn't like any). But it has the most incredible, super soft, fuzzy, silver leaves. South African native.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Big Sur, California
Greenbrae, California
Hayward, California
San Francisco, California (2 reports)
San Leandro, California
Vieques, Puerto Rico

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