All New Square Foot Gardening

Dusty Miller

AT A GLANDE

Botanical Information

Family: Daisy Height: 8 to 24 inches A/B/P, Hardiness: half-hardy annual Spacing: 4 per square

Growing Season Spring: late Summer: yes Fall: yes Winter: no

Seed to Harvest/Flower: 15 weeks Seeds Storage: Weeks to Maturity: 10 weeks Indoor Seed Starting: 10 to 15 weeks before last frost Earliest Outdoor Planting: 2 to

3 weeks before last frost Additional Plantings: after last frost with other annuals, or not needed Last Planting: not needed

Description

The charming dusty miller has been grown by generations of gardeners, and for good reason. The soft, silvery foliage is a beautiful addition to just about any garden type, from formal to casual, and the color blends or contrasts with many other leaves and flowers. Its carefree nature, unique color, and interesting texture make it a gardeners favorite. There are a few different kinds of dusty miller, mostly distinguished by the depth of the "cuts" in the foliage—some are scalloped, some are lacy. Dusty millers have unattractive mustard-yellow flowers that grow on plants that have overwintered. There are other annuals, and even perennials, that are easily confused with dusty miller. If the plant in question has white daisylike flowers, it is probably Silver Lace. If it has purple flowers, then it is most likely a perennial Centaurea. Regardless of which plant you actually have, enjoy it as a lovely garden accent.

Starting

Location: full sun to partial shade

Seeds Indoors: 10 to 15 weeks before last frost; seeds need light to germinate.

Transplanting: Dusty miller is unique in that it can be set out into the garden 2 to 3 weeks before last frost. Waiting until other annuals are ready to be planted after the last frost is fine, too. Seed Outdoors: Only in truly frost-free areas as it is a slow grower.

Basil and Beyond

Growing

Watering: Weekly, 2 cups per plant when young, 1 cup per plant once established. Even though dusty miller is drought tolerant, it will do best if watered regularly.

Maintenance: Although dusty miller is only hardy to Zone 8, it has been known to overwinter to Zone 4, especially in very well-drained soil. Prune second-year plants back severely, and to maintain the plants shape, remove the flowers as they appear.

Problems

Rot can be problem in wet soil. Otherwise, dusty miller is nearly problem-free.

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