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Dusty Miller

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Dusty miller
Dusty miller

Dusty miller is commonly known as Jacobaea Maritima or Silver Ragwort, is a perennial plant from the family Asteraceae.  

This plant, which was formerly called Senecio Cineraria, is native to the Mediterranean region. 

Dusty miller is widely grown for its beautiful and attractive silver foliage.

It can be grown as borders, on slopes, landscaping, rock gardens, as an edger, accent plants, or container plant.

It is an excellent choice for mixed containers and fresh flower arrangements.

They have an ashy-white coating of its leaves hence the name Dusty miller. Another reason for being called Dusty miller is, it resembles the millers who work in grinding mill with all dusty white flour over them.

Care for Dusty miller

Dusty miller plants are normally very easy to care for with low maintenance. If it gets proper light and well-drained soil, it will take care of itself.
Let us dig deep and understand its water, light, fertilizer, soil requirements. We will also learn how to propagate Dusty miller and prune it.

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How often should I water my Dusty miller?

Dusty miller doesn’t like their roots to stay wet. So, we should avoid over-watering.

It is drought tolerant and also tolerates frost to a certain extent.

Depending on the temperature, water them once or twice a week.

Drench the soil thoroughly and water them when the soil is fully dry or when the plant appears to be wilting.

Does Dusty miller like Sun or shade?

Dusty miller prefers full sun and can tolerate partial shade.

It does well if it gets more than 6 hours of sunlight.

When you plant them in more shade, it will lose its color and look Greener than Silvery.

It can handle colder night temperatures and can live more than one year if the winters are mild.

Dusty miller combination

Dusty miller propagation

You can propagate Dusty miller plants through Seeds, Stem cutting, and by division.

Propagation of Dusty miller through Seed:

You can sow Dusty miller seeds directly outdoors or indoor using the following steps.

  • Fill a tray (plastic or propagator tray) with compost and water it before sowing the seeds (since seeds are very tiny, they will wash off if we water afterward).
  • Sprinkle the seeds evenly on top of the compost and add a thin layer of compost.

  • Cover the tray with a transparent lid to keep moisture.
  • Seeds will germinate in 2-4 weeks.
  • When they get two sets of leaves, transplant them to smaller pots (2-4 inches) and keep them in a warm location.
  • When the risk of frost is over, transplant them outdoors.
  • Seedlings do not look silver when very young but color up as they mature.

Propagation of Dusty miller through Stem cutting:

Cut the Dusty miller stems (about 4-6 inches) during early spring when most of the new growth happens. 

Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and place it into a pot. Once it starts getting new leaves, transplant them to bigger pot or outdoor.

Propagation of Dusty miller through Division:

Dig around Dusty miller with entire clumps without damaging the roots and clumps.

Divide clumps into two or more sections based on its size. Place the sections in a new location and water regularly. 

The clump should be divided in the spring before new growth begins as it gives the roots time to recover from the division process.

Dusty miller arrangement

What is the best soil for Dusty miller?

Dusty miller plant prefers well-drained soil though it can adapt to different soil types ranging from acidic clay to sandy loam soil. This plant can even thrive in rocky ground.

You can maintain lightly moist soil for the young plants so that they can grow stronger.

How much fertilizer should I apply to the Dusty miller?

Dusty millers do not need much fertilizer. If you want your plant to grow faster, you can use general-purpose fertilizer. 

You can add little slow-release fertilizer before planting Dusty miller.

Dusty miller zone

Dusty miller plants grow as an evergreen perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11. In the colder zones, it can be grown as an annual bedding plant.

Should I prune my Dusty miller?

Dusty millers are mainly grown for their foliage. Prune it if they are growing tall or leggy.

Though Dusty miller plants produce mustard yellow flowers, many gardeners pinch off the flowers to encourage bushy growth.

Do pests bother Dusty miller?

Usually, Dusty millers are not bothered by pests and diseases as long as plants do not remain too wet, and proper air circulation is there.

These plants face some problems like Powdery mildew, root rot, stem rot, rust.

Do you call Centaurea cineraria as Dusty miller?

Centaurea cineraria (Velvet Centaurea), which originates from the Islands of Capraia in Italy, is also known as a Dusty miller. 

An interesting fact is that this plant is also from the Asteraceae family and has silvery foliage and very similar growing conditions.

Jacobaea Maritima can grow about feet taller than Centaurea cineraria.