Planting Dusty Miller with Other Plants
Senecio cineraria is the dusty miller plant so often used in spring landscaping projects. Other names for it include, silver ragwort, silver dust and silver brocade. The names refer to the attractive gray to white color of the plant’s fuzzy leaves.
The lacy, silver leaves of Dusty Miller
Although dusty miller ragwort is valued for its striking foliage, it also flowers. Dusty miller flowers are yellow and, though they are attractive, the plants will last longer if the blossoms are removed when they appear in early summer.
Dusty miller plants are compact landscape accents growing 6-12 inches tall with an equal spread. Their frosty leaves accentuate other colors in the garden.
They make good companion plants for brightly colored annual flowers. The more intense the hue, the better the silver leaves will shine.
When planted near dark foliage plants, silverdust sparkles.
If you are planning a white garden, S. cineraria can help you add the variety and depth of texture that you need to make such a planting work without wandering off theme.
Planting Dusty Miller
These lacy leaved plants prefer full or part sun. Plant them in well drained soil and don’t fuss over them once they have settled in. They are quite drought resistant. This trait makes them a perfect choice for an annual container garden.
Dusty Miller Senecio cineraria Pruning
Senecia cineraria provides contrast to the bright green leaves which form the pattern in this planted reflecting pool.
Picture taken at Bok Tower Garden in Lake Wales, Fl.
It is only necessary to cut the plants back if they become leggy during the growing season. Cut them back by half and they will fill back out nicely.
If silver ragwort is reliably perennial in your garden, cut it to the ground in early spring just as new growth is sprouting.
Winterizing Dusty Miller Plants
A bright blue glazed pot is set into each “pool” of silver lace.
The salmon blooms of the crown of thorns plant add more interest.
Senecio cineraria is a tender perennial.
It will come back each spring in USDA zones 8-11.
In colder areas, it is grown as an annual.
You can mulch around the plants with composted leaves or pine bark if you think they may need the extra protection in your zone.
How to Propagate Dusty Miller
Here, clouds of dusty miller are interspersed with hot pink Impatiens in a raised bed.
The bright green foliage cascading above the silver clouds is that of the firecracker plant.
The teal foliage of the dwarf mondo grass in front of this raised planter also complements the ragwort’s white leaves.
Seeds are the most common method. Dusty miller seeds are small and need light to germinate. Sow them on the surface of the soil and use a spray bottle to moisten them so as not to wash them away.
You can also take cuttings or divide mature plants in zones where they are perennial.
Is Dusty Miller Dangerous ?
Not seriously. It is mildly toxic.
If you were to ingest it, it might make you vomit or give you diarrhea. If a child eats it, call a poison control center.
Contact with the leaves may cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals. Wear gloves when handling it and wash with soap and water if you come into direct contact with it.