Dusty Miller make an attractive border plant. They have a silver / gray leaf that
provides a nice contrast to other plants. Dusty Miller grow about 12 inches high. They
like rich, organic, soil. They are supposed to do well in hot, dry climates. Dusty Miller
should be planted in full sun to get the silver color. The plants are usually considered
winter hardy in zones 7 to 10. They are sold as annuals in the north. I live in zone 5
and still plant them as perennials with some losses.
One of the most popular type of Dusty Miller is the "Silver Dust" (Senecio Cineraria)
variety. They are pictured above and available at the Gurney's Seed web site.
Another popular type is "Silver lace" which has a finer, fern like leaf with the same silver
There is another plant called "Silver Brocade" which looks similar to "Silver Dust" Dusty
Miller. They are sometimes referred to as "Hardy Dusty Miller". They are advertised to
be winter hardy in zones 2 to 9. "Silver Brocade" is harder to find, and quite expensive
compared to the less hardy Dusty Miller varieties.
Growth and Propagation of Dusty Miller:
Dusty Miller may be planted from seed, or purchased as small plants at many garden
centers. I purchased young plants from a popular home improvement store. Seed cost
less, but takes longer to get started. Seeds can be started indoors in northern
climates. The plants are put outdoors after the last chance of frost.
Dusty Miller will often produce a yellow flower which most people will remove. The
flowers are not real attractive, but must be allowed to develop if you want to collect
seed. My plants have not had any flowers for two years.
I live in zone 5 where Dusty Miller are sold as annuals. In 2005 we planted 24 "Silver
Dust" plants in a raised flower bed with no winter mulch or protection from the wind. In
2006 we had 13 of the plants come back. We purchased 6 additional plants to fill in
some empty spots. A winter mulch would have probably given us a better return rate.
You should leave the plants undisturbed until late spring if you want them to return.
The old foliage will completely die off over the winter. New growth will sprout from the
old stem around ground level. After you see which parts of the stem are still alive, you
need to prune out the dead leaves. There are 2 main benefits to letting the plants
come back. You obviously will save money over replacing them. Plus our returned
plants were larger, and fuller, than the new plants by mid-summer. The disadvantage is
that it takes the return plants a little longer to get started. The plants purchased at the
home improvement store were started in a greenhouse and have a few weeks head
start on those left in the ground.
This page was developed to share my gardening and landscaping experience with
others. The site contains only general information on different plants. I do not
guarantee all information to be accurate. I do not accept any responsibility for
anyone's growing success. Please consult with your plant or seed supplier for detailed
"Silver Dust" Dusty Miller