Tips on How to Care for Dusty Millers
Dusty millers are herbaceous sub-shrub in the Asteraceae family and are native to the Mediterranean regions. There are many types of dusty millers that include ‘New Look’, ‘Cirrus’, ‘Silver Lace’, ‘Silver’ Dust’etc… these garden beauties that produce beautiful yellow flowers are commonly used as an annual bedding plant and grow from 6 t0 12 inches. What I also love about the dusty miller is that it is drought-tolerant and not fussy at all when it comes to maintenance.
Deers and rabbits avoid dusty millers so planting them along the edge of your planters and pots will keep them away because they (dusty millers) are deer and rabbit resistant.
As far as I can remember I first saw this plant I believe while in a neighborhood passing a home that was nicely landscaped many years ago. I was so impressed by the appearance of dusty millers that I went and did research to find out what plant species this was, I was even taken by the name of this plant that stuck with me from that day until now.
The dusty miller does not only have a unique name but also an appearance that will have heads turning. This garden beauty can stand out among garden plants becoming a real show stopper. Since that day I have seen dusty millers all over the country in garden and landscaping designs. The dusty miller leaves are a gray-silver color with a velvety texture that is so stunning. For more on how to care for the dusty miller let’s take a closer look.
Dusty millers should be grown in an area that gets full sunlight though they can thrive in partial shade. When installing or grouping dusty millers they should be spaced about 8-12 inches apart for proper air circulation.
The soil type should be soil that drains well but will hold the right amount of moisture. Adding organic matter will help with this process.
Water your dusty miller well by ensuring that the soil is moist, allow the soil to dry out somewhat between watering before giving your dusty miller another drink.
The use of a slow-release or quick-release fertilizer will keep your dusty miller growing beautifully. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label for the best results.
Garden insect pests of dusty miller plants
Keep an eye out for this garden insect pest
Aphids cause damage by sucking the plant’s fluid when this happens your dusty miller may show signs of stunted growth along with wilting or curling of the leaves. These unwanted garden insect pests can do a lot of damage. Bring them under control with the help of insecticidal soap, before applying read and follow the manufacturer’s label for best results.
Diseases of dusty miller plants
- Aster Yellow
- Root Rot
The aster yellows disease is caused by bacteria, these bacteria cause the plant to deform. There is no known treatment for this disease except to remove the plant and properly dispose of it.
Excessive moisture can encourage root rot, ensure that you are monitoring the amount of water you’re giving your dusty millers to avoid this disease.
Where to install them
Here are just a few ideas on where to install the dusty miller.
1. The dusty miller can be used along the front of a garden plant bed.
2. Install them in a group around a tree trunk.
3. Place them in a container.
4. What about planting them alongside a garden walking pathway?
5. Install them alongside a fence.
6. Plant them alongside your porch or patio area.
7. Can be grown as a specimen plant.
Container grown dusty millers
A great and fun way to grow dusty millers is with the help of a container. The container should be large enough to accommodate your dusty miller for proper air circulation. Ensure that the container has drain holes to allow excess water to drain, the soil should be a good potting soil that will hold the right amount of moisture but will allow excess water to drain.
Placing a saucer under the container will catch the water that drains, continue to water until the water comes out of the drain holes, allow the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again. Fertilize as stated and keep watch for garden insect pests and plant disease and treat as recommended. Your container can be placed in partial to full sunlight all though dusty miller grows best in the full sunlight.
Planting dusty millers from seeds
Get a jump on spring by starting your dusty millers indoors after the last frost, seeds should be sowed 10 weeks before the last frost. The soil type should be a good garden soil that is weed-free such as a potting mix that will hold the right amount of water but drains well. Moisten the soil first then place the seeds on top of the soil, at this point the seeds should be left uncovered and placed in an area that gets full sunlight.
The temperature in this area can be anywhere from 65-75 degrees, once these conditions are met and with a little patience, your dusty miller seeds should germinate in about two weeks.
Pruning your dusty millers is a great way to keep them growing bushy. If your dusty miller has become leggy don’t despair you can bounce your dusty miller plant back to its former glory with the help of a hand pruner that is sharp and sterilized. When pruning dusty millers prune back half the size during the growing season and watch how your plant becomes full and bushy.
A word of caution
As beautiful and unique as these plants are there are some things to keep in mind.
1. The sap is said to cause eyes and skin irritation.
2. The ingestion of the leaves is said to cause damage to the liver.
So when installing these plants ensure that they are out of the reach of children and pets.
The final word
Dusty millers are really amazing with a stunning appearance which I am sure you will agree with, this show stopper gives great results and has earned its way on the list of plants that can work wonders for your garden and landscape. Give yourself the wonder touch by installing these beauties which will give that WOW. I have fallen in love with them and so will you as you make this plant a part of your garden and landscape design that looks really great.