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Dusty Miller

By Contributor ; Updated September 21, 2017

(Senecio cineraria)

Dusty Miller is grown primarily for its attractive silver-gray foliage rather than its yellow flowers. In fact, most gardeners prefer to cut off the flowers to encourage leaf growth. The plant is often grown in formal bedding schemes, but looks equally effective in informal or cottage-style designs. Dusty Miller is a nice addition to a colorful container garden, and makes a nice edging for your borders when combined with Love-in-a-Mist.

This southern European native can be grown as a perennial in Zones 9-10, and as an annual in Zones 3-8. Height is between 8 and 15 inches as annuals, but in Zones 9-10 some varieties grow 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall, spreading the blunt-tipped lobes of their 6- to 8-inch leaves equally wide and sending up 2 1/2- to 3-inch flat-topped clusters of tiny yellow flowers the second year.

Dusty miller can be sown directly in the garden or rooted from cuttings of the firm central growth. Plants will grow well in most any soil, but if the soil is poorly drained the roots will rot. Water regularly until the plants are established, then restrict to a good soaking once every week to ten days. Side dressing isn't usually necessary, but some bone meal or pelleted poultry manure can be applied when plants are 4 to 6 inches high.

The foliage looks good in cut arrangements. Cut and soak the base of the stem before arranging.

Good news for rural gardeners: Dusty Miller is Deer Resistant!

  • Type
    annual (or biennial)
  • Propagation
    seeds, cuttings
  • Light
    full sun
  • Flower Color
    pink, rose, lavender, white, blue
  • Bloom Time
  • Height
    12-18 inches
  • Width
    12-18 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    well drained; grows as well in poor soil as rich
  • Zones
  • Uses
    bed, border, cutflowers

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