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Centaurea cineraria

Previously known as:

  • Jacobaea maritima
Phonetic Spelling
sen-TAR-ee-ah sin-ah-RAY-ree-ah
Description

Dusty miller is an herbaceous sub-shrub in the Asteraceae (aster) family and native to the Mediterranean region. It is hardy in zones 8 to 10 and can be grown as an annual or perennial. It is grown for its dense, downy, gray-green foliage rather than the yellow thistle-like flowers that are usually trimmed to promote foliage growth. 

Dusty miller prefers moist, well-drained, moderately rich soils in full sun. It will tolerate poor soils and partial shade but can become leggy. It is drought tolerant when established, has few pests, and is not favored by deer.

The plant can be grown from seed or cuttings. In the summer, take tip cuttings from semi-hard wood. They will last past the first frost, but will die back to the crowns when temperatures are below freezing for long periods of time. Dead foliage should be cut back. New growth will emerge in late spring. 

The leaves are covered with fine matted hairs on both sides, giving them a felt-like or woolly appearance in silver or white. When wet, the white color fades and the green of the leaf is visible. The white color in the leaf is not as intense when grown in the shade. 

Use dusty miller in a container, as an edging plant along sidewalks, for accent, or on slopes. The leaves reflect moonlight, making it a welcome addition to a nighttime garden, as well as a cottage or drought-tolerant garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Containers at Pitt County Arboretum
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Silver Dust'
  • 'Silver Lace'
'Silver Dust', 'Silver Lace'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#silver leaves#velvety#fall interest#cottage garden#fast growing#summer flowers#deer resistant#nighttime garden#spring interest#fantz#partial shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Silver Dust'
  • 'Silver Lace'
'Silver Dust', 'Silver Lace'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#silver leaves#velvety#fall interest#cottage garden#fast growing#summer flowers#deer resistant#nighttime garden#spring interest#fantz#partial shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Centaurea
    Species:
    cineraria
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    As an accent bedding plant against flowering plants of a deep magenta, burgundy or purple.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mediterranean
    Play Value:
    Defines Paths
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 2 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Seeds are produced in cylindrical achenes
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Thistle-like flower-heads, often with enlarged outer florets, not particularly ornamental and usually trimmed to promote foliage growth and not detract from the foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple leaves are covered in fine matted hairs on both sides giving them a felt-like or woolly feel, are lance shaped and indented or cut with numerous lobes, yielding a lace-like appearance in silver or white with green undertones. The leaves reflect moonlight and is a welcome addition to a nighttime garden.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Nighttime Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought