A timeless garden staple, dusty miller will probably never go out of style. With its striking silver foliage and lacy texture, this plant looks good throughout the whole growing season. Whether you use it as a backdrop for bright and bold flowers or as a statement piece in a container, this beautiful plant lasts and lasts.
With its trademark silver foliage, dusty miller looks good in any combination of pantings. The silvery look of the leaves actually comes from numerous tiny white hairs that are most prominent on the undersides of the leaves and on the stems. On older plants, the hairs can actually wear off, and you'll begin to see the green underneath.
A good use for dusty miller is as filler with cut flowers. The bright silver foliage acts as a clean contrast to bright florals, and it's a nice change from your typical green fillers. It's not the longest lasting cut green, but it adds a wonderful elegance to any arrangement. Also try drying dusty miller.
How to Care for Dusty Miller
One of the main reasons that dusty miller has stuck around for so long is that it's so easy to grow. This plant seems to thrive in almost any situation, and is great both in the ground and in a container. Dusty miller prefers to grow 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.
Dusty miller also likes well-drained soil. In soil that's too heavy or too wet, there is a much higher risk that root rot will develop. Once the plants are established, they're very drought-tolerant, which makes them great container plants.
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As far as regular maintenance goes, these plants don't require a lot. Sometimes you may see plants trying to bloom. Dusty miller is really only grown for its foliage, as the flowers are fairly boring—yellow blooms on long stalks, which many people pinch off. 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 become scraggly and leggy.
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. European botanists have focused more on broader leaf varieties over the lacy types.