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Publication #FPS544

Senecio cineraria Dusty Miller1

Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe2

Introduction

Dusty miller is grown for its spectacular foliage: silvery-white, delicately divided leaves covered with a very soft, dense fuzz. Reaching 12 to 18 inches in height, dusty miller is ideal for neat edgings or for breaking up large masses of flower color. It can be planted in containers where the foliage can be viewed up close. Dusty miller is especially dramatic when viewed at night, the silvery leaves catching and reflecting the faintest moonlight. While the small blooms are somewhat attractive, they are usually removed to encourage leaf growth.

General Information

Scientific name: Senecio cineraria
Pronunciation: sen-NEESH-shee-oh sin-ner-RAIR-ee-uh
Common name(s): dusty miller
Family: Compositae
Plant type: annual
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: Jun
Planting month for zone 8: May
Planting month for zone 9: Mar; Apr; May
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Mar; Oct; Nov; Dec
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: mass planting; container or above-ground planter; border
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Figure 1. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: .5 to 1 feet
Spread: .5 to 1 feet
Plant habit: round; upright
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: lobed
Leaf shape: oblong
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: not applicable
Leaf blade length: 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: silver/gray
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable

Flower

Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: gray/silver
Current year stem/twig thickness: thick

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches

Other

Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: not applicable
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Dusty miller should be grown in full sun or very light shade in well-drained soil and occasionally trimmed if plants become leggy. Plants are fairly drought tolerant and should not be over-watered.

The cultivar 'Silver Queen' has silver-white, lacy leaves on compact, eight-inch-tall plants.

Propagation is by seed.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases of major concern, as long as plants do not remain too wet.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS544, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Teresa Howe, coordinator–Research Programs/Services, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.