Jacobaea maritima, commonly known as dusty miller plant, silver dust, or silver ragwort, is a lovely perennial ornamental plant that grows natively in the Mediterranean region. Thanks to its unique foliage, this plant has become a popular ornamental worldwide. Gardeners across the world appreciate the dusty miller plant for its spectacular silvery, lace-like foliage, and easy-to-grow nature.
Formerly a member of the Senecio genus, people became familiar with the scientific name Senecio cineraria. Nowadays, the dusty miller plant is a member of the Jacobaea genus and its scientific name is Jacobaea maritima, but you can still find it labelled as Senecio cineraria in garden shops. So now that you know that it goes by many different names, you will be able to find it more easily in nurseries and plant shops.
|Botanical Name||Jacobaea maritima/Senecio cineraria|
|Common Name||Dusty Miller, Silver Ragwort,|
|Plant Type||Evergreen shrub|
|Mature Size||up to 45 cm (20 in) tall and 45 cm (20 in) wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, light shade|
|Soil Type||Well-drained, Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand|
|Soil pH||Acid, Alkaline, Neutral|
|Flower Color||Yellow, insignificant|
|Hardiness Zones||7-10 (USDA)|
|Native Area||the Mediterranean region|
About Dusty Miller
- Besides the basic, but stunning Jacobaea maritima species, this plant comes in lots of other attractive varieties that you can choose from. Some of the most fabulous cultivars include ‘Cirrus’, ‘Silver Dust’, ‘New Look’, ‘White Diamond’, ‘Ramparts’, and ‘Silver Filigree’.
- A cultivar selected for its dense silvery tomentum, J. maritima ‘Silver Dust’, has gained the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
- The Dusty miller will look nice and perform best in habitats that suit both its preferences and appearance. In general, you will notice this plant most often in garden beds, borders, city gardens, cottage gardens, moon gardens, and pots.
- For even more ornamental value, you can plant your Dusty miller along with other interesting species of easy-going plants. Some examples of perfect companions for Dusty miller are Heliotrope, Pelargonium ‘Kimono’, Million Bells, Petunia, Purple Fountain Grass, Salvia, Snapdragon, or Zinnia.
Dusty miller makes a great addition to cutting gardens as it is a great filler for flower arrangements and bouquets. The attractive silver foliage will act as a clean contrast when combined with colorful blooms, and it’s a nice change from your typical green fillers. When combined with white flowers, it can make a perfect addition to bridal bouquets and it will add a wonderful elegance to any arrangement You can also try your hand at drying this plant as it usually keeps its attractive colour.
Dusty miller is a super easy-going plant in terms of growing and caring for it. However, it is not as friendly with us or our pets when we get in contact with it. This plant is toxic, so you might want to keep it outside your children’s and pets’ reach.
- Despite serious safety concerns, the Dusty miller is still present in medicine and it is used as a treatment for migraines, menstrual disorders, and “spots before the eyes”. Likewise, some use it as an eyewash for blurred vision and cataracts.
Dusty Miller Features: An Overview
- Dusty miller is a bushy perennial or subshrub. Depending on the specimen, it can reach from 6 to 24 inches (15-60 cm) in height and a width of about 8 to 24 inches (20-60 cm).
- Jacobea maritima grows natively in Mediterranean regions, in northwest Africa, and southern Europe, but it can also occur in Asia, especially in Turkey. In its natural habitat, Dusty miller thrives on cliffs and rocky coastal sites, and less often inland. Thanks to its ornamental value, this plant can now be found growing further north in Europe and in North America.
- This plant is most attractive throughout its active growing season. It has dense foliage, consisting of numerous finely textured, felted or woolly, dissected, and white-silvery leaves. Sometimes, it looks very similar to lace. On older plants, the hairs will become less visible as they start to wear off, and you’ll begin to see the green underneath.
- Jacobaea maritima features hair-like pieces on the leaves and stems called tomentum. This part of the plant plays a big part in ecology since some species of bees use it for building their nest.
- After its first year, the Dusty miller will generally begin its blooming phase. Expect to see your plant in bloom anytime during the summer months.
- The Dusty miller produces clustered heads that contain many tiny, daisy-like flowers. The blooms can exhibit shades of cream and yellow. They are not particularly ornamental, as the foliage usually takes the spotlight.
- Once the flowering period has passed, the Dusty miller may bear fruits known as achenes. They are small, dry, cylindrical, and one-seeded fruits that do not open to release their seed.
Growing Dusty Miller
The Dusty miller is the type of plant that will keep you company without asking for too much in return. In fact, this shrub will make any dull corner look better, and you will certainly notice the ornamental value of this plant as soon as you bring it to your home or your outdoor area. Dusty miller is a great choice, especially if you are looking for a mix of long-lasting and low-maintenance for your plant family.
When it comes to lighting conditions, the Dusty miller only needs one thing – lots of full sunlight, as this kind of exposure helps it remain compact and keep its gorgeous foliage colour and vibrance. If your Dusty miller experiences more shade overall, it will become somewhat leggy and also lose its soft, silvery hairs. Make sure you opt for a spot in which your plant can get at least six hours of bright and direct light each day.
Temperature-wise, the Dusty miller does best in hot and sunny climates. This plant is relatively tolerant and winter-hardy only in the USDA zones 8 to 11. Still, some gardeners say that it may survive winter months even in colder climates. The Dusty miller is a tender perennial in those areas where it can overwinter without any issue along the way. Otherwise, in harsher locations, you can grow it as an annual and forget about the temperature part.
- The most finely cut dusty Miller with Lacy silver-gray foliage.
- Each packet contains 100 seeds
- Sow indoors 4 weeks before average last frost date using a Burpee seed starting kit. Transplant to the garden 4 weeks after the average last frost date.
- Plant Height is 7". plant spread is 8".
- Annual for all growing zones from 1-11. Sunlight exposure = full-sun.
- This annual is grown for its attractive silvery-gray foliage and mounding form. Dusty Miller 'Silverdust' has lacy, lobed and deeply cut, silvery gray leaves and grows 8 - 12 inches tall and wide.
- Silverdust grow as an annual plant in USDA zones 6 - 10 reaching a height of 8 - 12 inches.
- Can over winter and act like a perennial in warmer areas, or if mulched heavily. Flowers are mustard-yellow which bloom the second year when planted from flower seed.
- Shear or pinch back plants if they become leggy. Tolerant of many soils, prefers full sun and well drained site. An excellent contrast between brightly colored bedding plants. Often used as an edging or border plant.
- Sow 4 seeds per plant to begin growing your Dusty Miller plants today.
- Country/Region Of Manufacture:United States, Mpn:Flower Seeds / Ornamental Foliage
- Brand:Silverdust, Plant Category:Cineraria Maritima
- Model:Flower Seeds / Ornamental Foliag
In case you want to overwinter your Dusty miller, we warmly recommend you reduce the frequency of watering in late summer. After this, you can prune the plant back using sterile and sharp pruning shears just above ground level. When you finish with the pruning part, mulch the soil around your plant with straw or pine needles. This process of three steps will make your life easier because it prepares your plant for the winter to come.
If you already appreciate the Dusty miller for its low-demanding style, you will be happy to learn that this ornamental is quite resistant to pest infestations and diseases. Some of the most common intruders that find Dusty miller attractive are slugs. This means that you might want to keep an eye out for them. To keep slugs away from your plant, you can simply handpick them once you notice their presence or use beer traps to control their spread.
Planting Dusty Miller
Since Dusty miller has a mounded growth habit and can spread up to 2 feet (60 cm), you will have to pay some attention when you plant it outdoors or near other plants. It is best to leave a distance of 2 feet (60 cm) around your plant to give it plenty of room to grow as it pleases. It does not typically spread any wider, so you should be safe with that.
For the most optimal growth out there, plant your Dusty miller in a substrate that features very good drainage. Other than that, you can provide your plant with a wide variety of soils as long as the chosen growing medium meets the pH requirements. The Dusty miller thrives in acidic soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. If your soil does not have this particular type of acidity or drainage, you can always amend it with compost to improve its general quality.
Fertilizers are not for Dusty miller, at least not as frequent as for other ordinary ornamental plants. It is a light feeder that will demand fertilizers only when it grows in poor soil. In case of this, you can feed your plant by adding some organic matter like leaf mould or well-rotted manure.
If you are growing your Dusty miller strictly for its superb silvery foliage, you should know that this shrubby friend is also a bloomer. Although its flowers are small and cannot become focal points, you might want to get rid of them to enjoy the luxury of your plant’s foliage. You can healthily achieve this by removing the blossoms from the shrub using sterilized pruning shears.
The Dusty miller does not grow at a very fast pace. However, potted specimens can overgrow their containers with time and will also benefit from a soil change once in a while. With this plant, you will know that it is time to repot when its roots begin to come out of the drainage holes. You can transplant your Dusty miller in a one-size larger container filled with fresh, well-draining soil, then water it generously to give it an excellent start.
Watering Dusty Miller
Being both a shrub and a Mediterranean species, the Dusty miller requires only occasional watering once it becomes established. This usually happens after its first year of growth when you can also see it blooming for the first time. Until then, you will have to water your plant as often as it needs to prevent its growing medium from drying out.
After your plant has settled into its new home, you can reduce the frequency of watering. It is a drought-tolerant species that can do just fine with one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week.
The Dusty miller will not appreciate soggy conditions or waterlogging at all. In general, excessive watering can cause root rot in this shrub. This fungal problem is more common in specimens that grow in clay or heavy soils. Make sure you avoid over-watering your Dusty miller and plant it in a well-draining substrate to prevent this from happening.
Propagating Dusty Miller
The Dusty miller makes for a fine garden filler, especially if you already have some nice companions with blue, purple, red, or orange flowers. Once your plant has established, you can take advantage of its dense foliage to make more specimens. The most popular and effective method of propagating Dusty miller is through stem cuttings.
First, wait for the spring to come before taking cuttings from your Dusty miller. When the time is right, usually in signs of warmth, you can start looking for healthy stems on your shrub. Cut about 6 inches (15 cm) off the stems with sharp pruning shears. Keep in mind that you must clean the garden tool before each cutting you take to prevent infection on your plant and also skin irritation.
Once you have the cuttings, strip the leaves from their base, then dip the cut ends of the stems in a rooting hormone. For each cutting, fill a small container with soilless potting mix and water until it becomes damp and the water drains from the pot. Plant the Dusty miller cutting in its individual pot. After this, make sure you provide the cuttings with warmth and a drink whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.
You should notice new leaves showing up on the cuttings after a month or so. When this happens, you can transplant the new Dusty miller plants outdoors or just let them be in their containers where they already grow.
The Dusty miller is a wonderful companion plant for every gardener, especially if you are a night owl that enjoys spending time outdoors and that appreciates unique-looking plants. This plant makes a perfect addition to moon gardens, alongside other ornamentals, cutting gardens, and Mediterranean gardens.
There is something magical about the beauty of Dusty miller under the moonlight, especially when combined with Angelonia, Ipomoea, Artemisia, and other similar plants. Dusty miller makes a great filler for floral arrangements and bouquets, so if you enjoy using your flowers in an artistic way, this plant is a great choice. Another great advantage of this versatile ornamental is the fact that you can grow it both indoors and outdoors without too much effort.
Are you growing Jacobaea maritime a.k.a. Dusty Miller in your home or in your garden? Share your experience in the comments section!