Dusty Miller Plant: A Guide on how to Grow Jacobaea Maritima

silver-ragwort Yellow Flowers

Grow and care for Dusty Miller plant (Jacobaea Maritima)

The silvery gray foliage of the dusty miller also known as silver ragwort or Jacobaea Maritima makes it a remarkable landscape addition to your garden. Its lacy leaves add interest to the garden, whether displayed by themselves or as a companion plant to other plants in the garden. The tiny white hairs that give dusty miller its silvery appearance can be seen most clearly on the undersides of leaves and stems.

The leaves on silver dust plants can be a beautiful compliment to many types of flowers. They pair well with cool purples and blues but also work great with hot reds and oranges.

The tiny hairs on the leaves act as a sun reflector, which protects the plant from excessive heat. It also helps prevent moisture loss. Dusty miller plants are excellent choices for areas with little natural light. You can grow them indoors as houseplants or in shaded gardens where other plants struggle to grow due to low light levels.

Dusty - Miller Macro

Cultivation and History of Jacobaea Maritima

Dusty Miller is a low-growing shrub that reaches about 3 feet in height. Its foliage is silvery-gray, and its texture—due to the fine matted hairs on each leaf —can feel like velvet when touched.


Dusty Miller may not be the most popular perennial plant, but it is native to many areas and has stood the test of time. It is native to Europe and the Mediterranean but has spread worldwide and is cultivated as an ornamental plant. Its common name comes from its silver-white coloration, which looks dusty or dirty.

It is an evergreen perennial, meaning it lives year-round and regrows from the ground in the spring. A member of the Asteraceae family—a large family with many popular plants, including sunflowers, dandelions, and thistles. Though formerly known by the scientific name Senecio cineraria, dusty miller is now known as Jacobaea Maritima.

The plant is barely recognized by its common name “dusty miller”. It can be found lining roadsides in many regions. Dusty Miller is known for its silvery green leaves covered in fine hairs. It gets its name from its dusty nature—the fine hairs that cover its leaves are easily blown by even the slightest breeze.


The plant grows best in sandy soil, allowing moisture to seep into the ground while draining water away quickly after a rainstorm. When planted near stream beds or very moist soil, they do not do well as they don’t like being saturated for long periods. The Dusty Miller makes a great ground cover plant because it spreads quickly and thrives in poor soil conditions.

Propagating Dusty Miller.

Dusty Miller is one of the best plants to propagate as a gardener. Propagating Dusty Miller from cuttings is probably the simplest of all methods available. Learn how to grow and care for them in few simple instructions.

Step 1

One hour to when you intend to take a cutting from a dusty miller plant, ensure you add water before you begin. Cuttings taken in the morning are usually more successful than those taken later in the day. Your timing is something crucial you have to put into consideration. 

Step 2

Mix new, sterile perlite and vermiculite to create a seed-starting mix. Mix enough of this blend to fill as many pots as necessary in a mixing bowl or bucket with water; stir the mixture thoroughly with your garden trowel.

Fill pots with moistened rooting mix until they are about one-half inch from overflowing.

To sterilize your pruners or scissors, put a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a clean rag and run the blades through it. Dusty miller stems are soft enough to cut with ordinary scissors if you don’t have pruners handy.

Note: When you’re choosing plants to propagate, check out their stems. Healthy, growing stems produce new growth at the tip; if all you see is dried-out twigs, think twice before you cut. The number of plants you need is based on their size when mature, not how wide or spindly your cuttings are at first.

Step 3

Cut the rose stems under a node or little nub on each stem where a leaf emerges. Aim for an angle of 45 degrees when cutting to maximize the rooting area.

Using scissors, snip off all but the top third of each cutting. Pulling leaves from their stems can damage them and increase your chances of rot; leaving a little bit at the bottom will still have something to hold onto if water gets in there somehow.

Insert the cut end of each stem into a small container containing the rooting hormone.

Stick a chopstick or pencil into the wet soil to make a hole, then remove it and place one seed at least an inch deep inside.

Insert the cutting into a hole you’ve made in the rooting medium. Then, firm around its base with your fingers to ensure that all of it is covered by compost.

Step 4

Place your potted cutting in a warm, brightly lit area where it won’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Put a dowel or other prop near (but not touching) the base of your plant, ensuring that it is at least 2 inches from any stem. Place a plastic bag loosely over your plants to keepthem from wilting and losing moisture.

dusty-miller flowering

Keep the potting medium moist until the dusty miller plant sprouts new leaves. It’s time to remove the bag when you feel resistance as you tug on your plant—this means its roots have extended into the rooting medium.


How to Grow Dusty Miller.

Suppose you’ve ever had trouble  growing your dusty miller in your garden or your gardenbed was savagely devoured by pests. In that case, it could be that you planted too late in the year and got caught by a late frost. One effective way to evade this is by starting fresh seeds at least six weeks before the average last day of spring.

Plant your seeds lightly on top of your potting mix (not too deep!) and keep them at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination should occur ten days or earlier if you’ve got a little extra heat. After your seedlings sprout, place them outside 8 inches apart or in rows 10 inches wide, depending on whether you prefer to grow indoors or outdoors (or both).

Growing Tips.

Dusty Miller has specific needs like all plants, but caring for them isn’t too complicated. Don’t worry about how quickly it grows in the beginning; once you transplant it,  you will sow flourishing plants.

This plant is one of the most resilient houseplants around. It will grow in almost any situation and works well in containers for indoors or planted outdoors—as long as it has plenty of room to grow and gets enough sunlight. As they grow, water regularly but don’t overwater. Usually, dusty millers plants thrive just fine without extra nutrients and are healthier.

The Dusty miller does best in full sun but can also be happy with a little less light. In a very shady environment, it will look more green, and the silver of its leaves will be less pronounced.

Dusty miller plants like well-drained soil; if the soil is too heavy or wet, there’s high risk that root rot will develop. Once established, though, dusty miller plants are drought tolerant, making them great container plants!.

Dusty Miller with rain drops

Pruning and Maintenance of Dusty Miller.

You won’t need to do much with dusty miller plants as they are low-maintenance. Sometimes their leaves may be yellow, or the plant may try to bloom, but it is nothing to be concerned about.

As a rule, dusty miller is grown only for its leaves, not its flowers. The long yellow stalks are spiky and somewhat unpleasant to look at or touch; they’re often pruned off before the plant blooms.

Dusty miller is easy to trim and can bounce back when cut. This will encourage the plant’s growth instead of stunting it.

You can prune them back in late summer to encourage additional growth, often when plants are lanky and unkempt.

Cultivars to Select.

Dusty Miller is one of the essential elements in ‘wall’ gardens. The available combinations of this type of plant with other low-growing and spreading plants help create a dramatic effect. Many cultivars have been developed to display the lush green foliage on plants spaced close together.

dusty miller

Dusty Miller’ Cirrus’.

The variety has large, silver-colored leaves that are round on the edges and give a contrasting look to the garden. The species is also known as Centaurea Cineraria; this cultiver of dusty miller grows up to 1 foot tall and wide in hardiness zones 7–9.

This variety produces yellow and button-shaped flowers. ”Cirrus’ prefers growing in sandy or clay loam with a pH of 5.5 to 7.7; it has similar growing requirements with other varieties of dusty miller, as it is both easy to grow and low maintenance.

When planting, leave at least 16 inches between each plant for enough space to grow. This variety can live up to 10 years in ideal conditions.

Dusty Miller’ Silverdust’.

This plant is called “silver dust” because it is a silvery plant. It grows 10 inches taller and wider than the related species Senecio cirrus. 

Grown mainly for its foliage, this variety has flowers cut off before they bloom. This easy-to-grow, low-maintenance variety grows well in most climates. It’s perfect for planting in borders, beds, or container plantings.

Dusty Miller “Newlook”.

The “Newlook” variety of dusty miller has a distinct look from the others. Where all other varieties have white-silver and shiny leaves, Newlook has classic rough ones.

Drought-tolerant by nature, this plant needs watering just once a week when first planted. After two months, it becomes independent and requires minimal care. Fertilizer is not needed for growing this plant—however, time-release fertilizer can be used at planting time if desired.

Dusty Miller’ Silver Lace’.

A delicate variety of dusty miller, Silver Lace is excellent for planting in borders or edgings—anywhere you want to create an elegant display. This low-growing plant measures 7 inches tall and 8 inches wide.

This plant flourishes best where moderate temperatures and grows well from zones 3 to 8. It is also known as Beach Wormwood and Mugwort—its white foliage makes it perfect for borders or mass planting.

Jacobaea Maritima


The Dusty Miller thrives in full sunlight but is also hardy enough to tolerate partial shade. Under these conditions, its silver-gray color may change from grayish green to darker hues of green or even blue-green.

While it will tolerate temperatures of 40 to 80 degrees, a young plant should be shaded and kept out of high winds until it is established.


Dusty Miller can grow in a wide variety of soils, from sandy loam to acidic clay. The soil must drain well so that its roots don’t stay submerged for too long; otherwise, it will not survive very well or at all.

A little sand or rocks added to the soil can help drainage. The plant most needs moist soil, but it is drought tolerant. If you let your established plant’s soil dry out completely, don’t do that!


Dusty miller plant requires occasional watering. You should provide at least an inch of water each week to maintain a healthy plant. Suppose your plants are not getting enough rain to stay healthy. In that case, you can supplement by watering every few days until more substantial precipitation occurs.

Keeping a plant like Dusty Miller regularly hydrated is essential, but too much water can cause its roots to rot. If you’re keeping this plant indoors in a container, check the soil every couple of days and give it more water if it seems dry.

Temperature and Humidity.

Dusty miller shrubs are resilient plants that thrive in hot, sunny climates and tolerate cooler temperatures. They will grow well in regions where the temperature drops below freezing and up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius). Dusty miller is hardy from zones 8 through 10.

The shrubs of this plant does not need much attention, but silver ragwort can thrive in dry conditions. Its fuzzy leaves help regulate moisture levels by trapping a layer of air around the plant’s surface.

Dusty Miller - Coastal

Planting dusty millers too closely together will keep the plants from receiving sufficient moisture and may result in a shag-rug look. To avoid this, plant them 1 foot (30 cm) apart.


This plant has little need for fertilizer, but a dose of it early in the growing season can help.

If you fertilize it too much, the plant’s growth will be forced and become leggy. This weakens the plant’s overall strength. If you decide to fertilize your indoor cactus, make use of a slow-release general-purpose fertilizer in moderation.

When growing plants from seed, it is best to use a weaker solution of fertilizer than you would normally.

Common Problems with Planting Dusty Miller.

Dusty Miller is a tender perennial so it may be susceptible to certain diseases and garden pests that can cause its growth rate to slow down or even stop altogether. Dusty-Miller is a hardy plant, but it won’t stand up to invasion by pests or disease without showing signs of distress.

Slugs are attracted to silver dust plants, and if there is a plentiful supply in the garden, they will eat them.

They are susceptible to root rot, which occurs when a plant’s roots decay. The well-drained soil that Dusty-Miller prefers can help prevent this disease by ensuring the plant does not spend too much time on waterlogged soil.

Dusty Miller plants are also subject to a fungal disease known as powdery mildew.

dusty-miller grey leaves

Suppose you notice that the leaves of your plant are drying up or fading. In that case, it’s probably due to an infestation—aphids tend to live on the underside of leaves and suck nutrients from them.

Managing Pests and Diseases.

Dusty Miller plants are susceptible to many diseases and pests; however, you can drastically prevent these issues with proper care

For starters, if your dusty millers are slug infested, try handpicking or setting up beer traps to eliminate slugs in your flower beds. Also, consider bringing natural predators such as ladybugs into the yard to help fight off infestations.

White or gray powder on Dusty Miller plants is likely caused by a fungal disease known as “powdery mildew.”

To curb the spread of this fungus, you should minimize wind and water whenever possible. You can also remove any diseased leaves and dispose of them in an area where they cannot re-infect other plants.

Best Uses.

Jacobaea Maritima which is widely known as Dusty Miller can be used as a ground cover, planted among low-growing or creeping annuals like wave petunias. Although dusty miller is not quite as long-lasting but adds an elegant touch to any arrangement. Its bright silver foliage makes an excellent addition to bouquets, providing a clean contrast to colorful floral arrangements while adding interest without overwhelming more delicate blossoms.

DustyMiller - Centaurea cineraria

Dusty Miller produces beautiful flowers and is well known for its moderate growth rate. It can be planted in small patches or large masses—to create dramatic effects or to decorate a garden. If you’re looking for a versatile plant that will add color and texture to your landscape, look no further than Dusty Miller.


Taking care of your dusty miller is quite simple and enjoyable. You only have to feed, water, and give your dusty miller a sunny place to grow. And it is that easy: All you need to do is follow these three simple rules, and you will have a healthy dusty miller plant.

Not only is this plant attractive and beautiful, but growing it is also an easy task. It may be a little sensitive to temperature changes, but otherwise, it’s incredibly tolerant in many conditions. And if you’re looking for a unique and lovely addition to your home or garden, this plant would be a magnificent starting point.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Does dusty miller reappear each year?

When grown annually, Dusty Miller can be a perennial herb under certain conditions. 

Does dusty miller plant like sun or shade?

While dusty miller tends to do best in full sun, it can also thrive under shade.

Will dusty miller survive winter?

The plant takes well to light frost. it can be grown as a winter annual or short-lived perennial during the last frost of the season. But hard freezes will kill this plant!

What is the plant care of a dusty miller?

Dusty miller can grow in both full sun and partial shade but will look greener in less light. In heavy or wet soil, it’s more apt to develop root rot than when given well-drained conditions.

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