How to Plant and Grow Dusty Miller

This easy-to-grow plant is perfect for adding a splash of silver to garden beds and containers.

Dusty miller is easy to grow and long-lasting. This plant seems to thrive in almost any situation and is excellent both in the ground and in a container. Dusty miller is a tender perennial that's only winter-hardy in Zones 7-10. Otherwise, it's grown as an annual.

With its trademark silver foliage, dusty miller looks good in any combination of plantings, and it's a good bedding plant. It also works well as a filler for cut flower arrangements. The silvery look of the leaves comes from numerous tiny white hairs that are most prominent on the undersides of the leaves and the stems. Dusty miller makes a low-maintenance bedding plant.

Dusty miller is toxic to pets and can be toxic to humans as well when eaten.

Dusty Miller

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Dusty Miller Overview

Genus Name Jacobaea maritima
Common Name Dusty Miller
Plant Type Annual
Light Sun
Height 6 to 12 inches
Width null to 2 feet
Flower Color Yellow
Foliage Color Gray/Silver
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Dusty Miller

Plant dusty miller in your garden to add silvery brightness amid colorful flowers or lots of greenery. Plant in an area that gets full sun most of the day but with some shade later in the afternoon in very hot climates. Use it as a background for low-growing annuals, as an edging plant, or in containers. This low-maintenance plant will thrive in drought-tolerant gardens.

How and When to Plant Dusty Miller

If growing dusty miller from seed, start them indoors about ten weeks before your area's last frost in spring. Sow the seeds in a location with 65º-75ºF temperatures where there's lots of light, uncovered on top of moist potting mix. Within 10-15 days, germination will take place.

If transplanting from containers, make a hole the same size as the container and add the plant so the stem is at the same soil level it was in its pot. Fill in around the root ball with soil and water well. Add more soil if needed.

Dusty Miller Care Tips

Dusty miller is easy to grow and even easier to care for. This plant seems to thrive in almost any garden or yard. Once dusty miller is established, they're very drought-tolerant.


Dusty miller does best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. In more shade, the silver look of the leaves will be less intense, and the plants will look more green.

Soil and Water

Dusty miller needs to be planted in well-drained soil. In soil too heavy or too wet, there's a much higher risk of root rot developing. Because its origins are Mediterranean, dusty miller tolerates poor soil.

Water sparingly to keep soil from getting waterlogged. The best way to check if dusty miller needs watering is to feel the soil. If the top 1 inch is dry, it's time to water. Indoor plants may need even less water since they don't get as much direct sunlight. Keep in mind that wilting may be a sign of too much, not too little, water.

Temperature and Humidity

Dusty miller thrives in heat, thanks to its Mediterranean origins. High humidity isn't a problem either, as long as plants have plenty of room to grow and lots of sunlight.


Fertilizer is only necessary when the soil is poor. Amend the soil when planting dusty miller with organic matter like compost. Add slow-release fertilizer to the soil at planting time or provide water-soluble fertilizer at about half-strength every two weeks if needed.


Dusty miller doesn't need pruning, but if some of the leaves begin to yellow or if it starts to sprout small flowers, you can clip them off for a more appealing look.

Overall, dusty miller doesn't mind being pinched or sheared back. This will actually help promote new growth and keep the plants lush and bushy. You can cut them back to promote a flush of new silver growth late in the season, when plants often start looking scraggly and leggy.

Potting and Repotting

Like in garden beds, dusty miller's silvery tones add a lot to container gardens and hanging planters. Use a light, porous potting mix in a container with plenty of drainage. If winters are cold, bring potted dusty miller plants indoors to protect them from the cold.

Pests and Problems

There's very little to worry about when it comes to pests and problems for dusty miller. Slugs may chew on their leaves and require hand-picking to rid the plants of them. Deer stay away from dusty miller, so it's a good choice to use around other plants that deer like to eat. Root rot can be an issue because of overwatering; otherwise, they're pretty much disease-free.

How to Propagate Dusty Miller

Propagate dusty miller in spring by cutting a 6-inch stem from new growth. Strip off the leaves from the bottom 3 inches and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Place the stem in a container with moistened potting mix. Keep moist and warm, then transplant once new leaves begin to grow.

Types of Dusty Miller

Since dusty miller has been around for quite some time, it's surprising that so few varieties are available. The few that have been introduced are generally more silver than the straight species, or they offer more heat tolerance. A few have notably lacier leaves as well.

Blazin' Glory Dusty Miller

Blazin' Glory Dusty Miller

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Senecio cephalophorus 'Blazin' Glory' is a heat and drought-tolerant choice bearing silvery tongue-shaped leaves and producing bold red flowers in summer. It grows 18 inches tall and wide.

Dusty Miller Companion Plants


dusty miller angelonia

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon with its salvia-like purple, white and pink spires that reach a foot or two high. This tough plant blooms all summer long in hot, sunny spots. Some are sweetly scented. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it's a tough perennial in Zones 9-10.


dusty miller petunia

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Petunias are failproof favorites for gardeners everywhere and look wonderful next to dusty miller. They are vigorous growers and prolific bloomers from mid-spring through late fall. Color choices are nearly limitless, and many varieties are sweetly fragrant. Some also tout themselves as "weatherproof," meaning the flowers don't close up when water splashes them.


Basil Ocimum basilicum
Peter Krumhardt

Basil is a bushy plant suitable for garden beds or containers. Grow this cooking staple in a sunny spot, and you'll reap the rewards of flavorful foliage in shades of green, purple, or bronze. Basil plants are exceedingly sensitive to cold; start seeds indoors or sow outside only after all danger of frost has passed.

Garden Plans for Dusty Miller

Tiny Corner Garden Plan

tiny corner garden plan
Marty Baldwin

Banish front-yard blahs by installing this easy corner-fence design, featuring colorful, fast-growing flowers. It calls for 12 dusty miller plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How tall does dusty miller grow?

    The tallest-growing variety of dusty miller is 'Silver Filigree', which can reach 8 inches in height. It can also spread up to 2 feet.

  • Can dusty miller be affected by powdery mildew?

    Yes, dusty miller is susceptible to powdery mildew, which looks like white splotches of powder on leaves. To reduce the problem, avoid splashing the foliage while watering.

  • Can dry dusty miller for arrangements?

    Dusty miller makes a pretty dried plant. Cut stems and create small bundles. Hang them upside down to dry, then use in your arrangements once they are completely stiff.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles