By Teo Spengler
Plants with silver foliage are all the rage, including the new variety Senecio ?Crushed Velvet?. If you?ve never heard of it, you?re in for a treat. Click here for more information about the Crushed Velvet plant including tips on how to grow Crushed Velvet.
By Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
The dusty miller plant is an interesting landscape addition, grown for its silvery-gray foliage. Dusty miller care is minimal when the plant is established. Read this article to find tips for growing and care.
The name Dusty Miller may call to mind dark streets, alleyways, detectives in trench coats, and shady characters straight out of your favorite noir film or crime novel. Or perhaps an actual miller from days of yore covered in flour, if fantasy or historical fiction are more your taste.
While the name “dusty miller” is shared with a few other similar plants, we’re specifically discussing the Jacobaea Maritima, a name that sounds much more impressive and smart (as long as the person I’m talking to has no idea how to pronounce it.).
They make excellent landscaping foliage with their beautiful silver-felted leaves and fluffy voluptuousness. They’re a cinch to care for and a pleasing addition that will bring a different dimension to your flower garden.
Not convinced yet? Read on and see if I change your mind.
Each year we choose different plants for our winter container gardens. This year we went with 4 small shrubs that combine interesting texture, color and growth habit. We plan on transplanting these shrubs into a more permanent location next spring. Here are photos of our winter containers over the past four years:
This year we planted an Emerald Green Arborvitae ‘Smaragd’ in the center (Zone 4 to 8) surrounded by a Wintercreeper ‘Moonshadow’ (Zone 4 to 9), a Golden Threadleaf False Cypress ‘Filifera Aurea’ (Zone 4 to 8), and a Weeping Loropetalum ‘Purple Pixie’ (Zone 7 to 10) Click photo to enlarge
Last year we planted a Flowering Kale in the center, with 2 plants each of Purple Viola, Tricolor Sage, Italian Parsley and Silver Falls Dichondra. (Click photo to enlarge)
Year before last we planted an Italian Stone Pine in the center, surrounded by Dusty Miller and Purple Pansies. (Click photo to enlarge)
Four years ago we planted a small Juniper, surrounded by winter pansies and trailing ivy. (Click photo to enlarge)
One nice thing about winter container gardens is that they don’t need much care as long as you use a good soil like we did. Even though we were tempted to use the old soil in the pot from our spring/summer plantings, we know it is best to start off with fresh soil. We used Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This special mix helps keep you from over and under watering. We feed our plants Osmocote to provide nourishment for the entire season
Just to show you how plant roots love this soil, check out this photo of the root mass that filled these containers during summer.
Plant roots love Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. This solid root mass is from our spring/summer containers. We like to start with fresh soil each time we plant. (Click photo to enlarge)
Most nurseries carry only one or two varieties of Dusty Miller, but if you’d like to experiment, look around for any of the following varieties: ‘Silver Lace’ is a tall plant, growing 18 inches tall. It has an airy form with very lacey foliage. ‘Silver Queen’ is ideal for container cultures because it only grows 8 inches tall. It also has lacey foliage. ‘Cirrus’ has a simpler form with lobed leaves. This plant grows 18 inches tall. ‘Silver Dust’ has deeply dissected leaves and stays compact.
For more information, visit the following links:
Dusty Miller from the University of Wisconsin Master Gardener Program
Dusty Miller a Water Wise Sub Shrub, from Oregon State University Extension
When she’s not writing about gardening, food and canning, Julie Christensen enjoys spending time in her gardens, which include perennials, vegetables and fruit trees. She’s written hundreds of gardening articles for the Gardening Channel, Garden Guides and San Francisco Gate, as well as several e-books.
The dusty miller can tolerate frost and drought very well, but not root rot. To ensure that there is no root rot, special care should be taken of the fact that the soil is draining well. Proper air circulation should also be ensured. Other than that, this plant can face certain problems. These are listed below.
Aphids are mainly the reason why this fungal disease spreads. If there are powdery spots on the leaves, then there are high chances that the plant has been infected with this problem. Fungicides can treat this problem well. Another home remedy to treat powdery mildew is spraying milk and water on the plant in a 1:10 ratio.
Aphids can cause the leaves of the plant to get wrinkly or curled. In some cases, it can also cause the leaves to get detached from the stems. A mild insecticide can take care of this problem really well.
This is a phytoplasma disease that can cause the plant to get severely deformed. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be cured. The only option left with is to remove the infected plant at the soonest.
Need help planting a successful garden? These tips and tricks from our horticulture staff can help keep your home garden looking beautiful this fall.
In North Texas we ask a lot of our plants. With extreme temperatures in the summer and periods of too much or no rain at all, it’s important to equip your garden accordingly. Take a look at these suggestions designed to help your home garden thrive.
For help identifying plants and other horticultural questions, please contact the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Dallas County Master Gardeners. Dallas County Master Gardeners provide free gardening advice to area residents, and welcome the opportunity to help you find the solution to your gardening problems. Just call 214.904.3053. The Help Desk is available Monday – Friday, 9:30am – 3:30pm. If you prefer to send an email, or wish to include a photo, please click here.