Dusty miller, Senecio cineraria, provides delightful silver foliage that complements pink or purple annuals and perennials. You will find valuable facts and information on growing and caring for dusty miller, and other helpful information on propagating seeds. Dusty miller makes great garden edging plants and plants for borders. I love this plant, and have it along the border of one of my flower beds each and every year. You can always find a spot for this plant in your yard and garden.
Growing Dusty Miller
Dusty millers are perennials in USDA Zones 8-10, but may also be grown as annuals in colder zones. They grow from 12-24” in height and width. Dusty miller plants take on a rounded form, and have a medium growth pattern.
Dusty miller prefers full sun and moderately fertile soil. Make sure it is well-drained and has a pH between 5.5-7.0. The plant actually can have yellow flowers that can appear during the second year of growth but are rarely seen because the plants are usually grown as annuals. Place in groups among brightly colored plants; use in moon gardens, where silver and white foliage is attractive when viewed by moonlight. They can also be places in mass plantings as a ground cover, or in containers.
Caring for Dusty Miller
Dusty millers should be planted from 6 to 12” apart in late spring. You can apply slow-release granular plant food at the time of planting. Apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer to reduce weed seed germination, hold moisture in the soil, and as it decomposes, add organic matter to the soil. Water them deeply when the soil is dry.
Remove plants just before first frost or right afterward when foliage is disfigured. You may choose to wait until April to cut off all old branches. Cover bare soil with 3” of vegetative mulch during winter to preserve the topsoil.
Propagation of Dusty Miller
Seeds may be sprinkled over a growing medium and left exposed to the light. You do not have to cover them, but you should thoroughly moisten and keep them moist, not soggy, until the seeds begin to germinate. Germination occurs in 10-15 days at 72 degrees. They may be transplanted in about 20-25 days. After transplanting, reduce the temperature to 62 degrees.
*Rust is the only common disease associated with the dusty miller plant.
Related species would be ‘Alice’ which has deeply cut silver-white-stained foliage. ‘Cirrus’ has rounded bright silver leaves and is a dwarf variety.
‘New look’ has lobed pure white leaves, ‘Silver Filigree’ has gray leaves, ‘Silver Queen’ is compact and has silvery-white leaves, and ‘White Diamond’, has silvery-gray leaves.