You Want Your Flowers to Pop, Plant Dusty Miller
Are you one of the many
gardeners who will be buying trays of pansies and violas to incorporate into
your annual beds? I suspect you are
probably going to mix in the occasional ornamental kale and cabbage plants in
those beds too as well. Consider adding
Dusty Miller to the garden to make the annual colors pop. Dusty Miller is
prized for its dazzling silver-felted leaves and fluffy appearance and is an
exceptional companion plant for pansies and violas.
Dusty Miller is a
tender perennial. It is usually treated as a hardy annual in the Mid-South but
can be overwintered in zones five through eight with proper care. Dusty Miller
is an easy annual to grow that enhances the color and beauty of most flowering
companion plants. It is primarily grown for its frosted, silver-gray foliage and
strong contrast in color and texture. The gray leaves make red and pink flowers
appear sharper and they make blues look striking.
The leaves of the Dusty
Miller are covered with fine matted hairs that give them a woolly-felted silver
or white appearance. The white color is not as intense when grown in the shade.
The coloration of the leaf can vary depending on the cultivar. The leaves are deeply cut and arranged
alternately along a stiff, hairy stem.
The average size of Dusty
Miller is eight to twelve inches tall and wide. After the first year small
clusters of yellow flowers will develop. Enthusiasts often remove the flowers so
as not to detract from the delightful foliage. There are cultivars that do not
flower. This plant is also frost tolerant.
Be sure to plant Dusty
Miller in light shade to full sun. It
will flourish in well-drained soil that has been enriched with organic
matter. If planting in containers please
use a good quality potting mix. This
plant has few pest problems.
Enhance the color of
your annual flowers and plant Dusty Miller this season. I have had Dusty Miller
in one of my flowerbeds now for almost three years. It really sets off my ‘Purple Pixie’ Loropetalum. I have even convinced my Dad to plant Dusty
Miller in his fall/winter beds this year as well. He likes them and so will you!
Until next time, have a
wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!