- Author: Andrea Peck
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Andrea Peck UCCE Master Gardener
Latin name: Jacobaea maritima
Size of plant: 6 inches to 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide
Bloom description and season: clusters of small yellow flowers after first year
Exposure: full sun, some shade
Pruning needs: prune to maintain as foliage only plant or after flowers are spent
Water needs: drought tolerant once established
Description: Dusty Miller is a striking addition to any garden. With soft, fuzzy leaves and silver-white foliage, this plant adds a new dimension for the creative gardener. Dusty Miller is at its shining best when placed next to contrasting plants or combined with similarly colored plants. If you prefer gardening after hours, it is a lovely ''moon-garden'' plant. A native Mediterranean plant, it is categorized as a sub-shrub with woody stems. It is often sold as an annual, but in zones 7-10 it is considered a perennial and winter hardy. This is a sturdy plant that grows equally well in containers and is deer resistant.
This plant can be set in formal rows or grouped among low-growing annuals. If allowed to grow as a perennial, this unusual plant will spread slowly in a sprawling manner and send out yellow flowers that invite bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Often, gardeners crop the flowers for a tidy look, but for a wilder, more cottage-garden style---and the benefit of flying wildlife-- let this plant grow unfettered.
Dusty Miller will grow in most soil types but does best in soils with adequate drainage. Water less frequently once established and based on soil moisture and temperature; hot summer spells may require more frequent irrigation. Resilient by nature, it is seldom beset by annoying pests or bugs, but can develop root rot if soils are overly wet.
Prune annually, preferably in the fall or early winter months, to encourage strong, healthy growth the following spring. Provide compost throughout the year to minimize the need for fertilizer. Finally, think out-of-the box when mulching---color selection is the fun part with this plant!