Dusty MIller as a Perennial?! Believe it!!

sandivJuly 8, 2006

I had to share this trick I've picked up with all of you. About 6 years ago we purchased a flat of Dusty Miller in the early summer and planted it in the normal fashion. Shortly afterwards baby #4 was born and that fall left me too busy to pull out my annuals before snow fell. Oddly enough, most of the Dusty Miller looked pretty, even in the winter. The next spring, still busy with 4 little ones, left me unable to 'clean' out my flower-bed. By the time my oldest got out of Kindergarten that May, my Dusty Miller were thriving, all on their own. I finally got down and dirty and trimmed the hard, dead stalks and leaves off the new, young foliage. I always cut off the flowerings as they occur, but that first summer I did allow a few to go to seed for collection. Now, my original flat of Dusty Miller are big, beautiful 'bushes'. I've never taken them out in the fall, just leave them and I don't even prune them until about May. This spring it looked as though I might lose them all, they looked pretty bad....the neighbors were joking about my 'Adam's Family Garden'. But I left them anyway and now I've got the last laugh, they're gorgeous!! They measure anywhere from 18' wide to 12' tall.

Take a look for yourselves at a 6-year-old Dusty Miller!! I'll post the two photo links I have...

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e149/sv6229/DSC01174.jpg

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e149/sv6229/DSC01233.jpg

Here is a link that might be useful:

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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

In my garden dusty miller is t huge thug! It will take over a garden travelling by offsets and seeding all over the place.
Not that I would suggest that you are too busy to garden....with 4 little ones LOL! but they seem to behave better when neglected and not watered, never fed and generally ignored.
They look lovely....but iof they start to run....catch them quickly!
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 12:19PM
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sandiv

LOL....I realized that the net formatted my measurements incorrectly....I really did use the symbol for "inches", not "feet". They are 18 inches wide and 12 inches tall. Whew!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 3:50PM
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barb_in_dc(z7 DC)

My local Home Depot sells dianthus as "annuals" and charges $2.99 per nice-sized pot. What don't they understand? These bad boys are PERENNIALS. What else do you call a plant that comes back every year and blooms its little heart out all summer? (And, yes, Dusty Miller never fully dies back in my climate.)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 9:07PM
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deeje

I've had Dusty Miller overwinter too, when the winter's mild and I've mulched the area. It's always a pleasant surprise to see that I don't have to re-plant!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 9:47PM
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rkapolka

Does anyone have any experience growing Dusty Miller from cuttings? We have had a really warm winter so far and I just took a bunch of cuttings today.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 7:46PM
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bossjim1

I really don't understand your surprise since Dusty Miller IS a perennial.
Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Dusty Miller

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 8:51PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Jim,

OP lives in zone 5 (Michigan). Dusty Miller is only supposed to be hardy to zone 8 (7 on the outside). In lower zones it is referred to as an "annual" because it "should not" winter over in our lower climates.

There are many plants that we grow as "annuals" even though they are hardy perennials elsewhere (higher zones).

Hope that clarifies the confusion for you... :o)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 1:56PM
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bossjim1

webkat,
Sorry, but that doesn't clear up much, since there are posts on this thread, declaring it to be perennial in zones 3,4,and 5.
Jim

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 2:19PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Plants in our area are sold as annuals if they are not expected to survive our winters.

Dusty Miller, and other supposed tender perennials, have always been referred to and sold as an annuals in our zone (and most likely any zone cooler than zones 7-8).

It is considered a "pot filler" and not expected to survive.

This is why OP is surprised that her "annual" Dusty Miller returned from the same roots the following spring.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 6:42AM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

I've never had one survive a zone 4/5 winter but I agree with the op--they look really nice throughout the winter. I have some in a large pot sitting in front of my garage. The silver leaves and stalks covered with snow add an attractive accent. Since we are having a very mild winter, I will give the ones in the garden some time to recover this spring to see if there might be some life left in them.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:11AM
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leslie197(z5 MI)

I've had Dusty Miller occasionally survive for me over the winter, but their return has always been spotty and they have never made it through a 2nd winter for me. Well done, Sandiv!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:31AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Maybe next year I'll try leaving some and see what happens. Though the last few years we've had such poor snow cover that it's been iffy as to whether or not the marginally hardy things would make it let alone things that are several zones removed from here. I'm so thankful that we now have 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground. Wish we'd get at least 4 or 5 more.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:07AM
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merrygardens(z5 MI)

This year I brought several in, took cuttings and left a few outside. I really love the effect of these plants in the garden, so this way perhaps I'll wind up with some for this year! Although they were winter sown, so I certainly can to that again, but the prospect of large clumps is very appealing.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 11:26AM
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klimkm(z5)

I have had the dianthus that is sold as annuals come back. Also the sweet allyssum sometimes comes back. (reseeds?). I also have cosmos reseed.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 10:09AM
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uriahjump

Just wanted to share a bit of information.
When it comes to Dusty Miller...(Senecio Cineraria) It actually really ends up depending on what variety of dusty miller your choosing to grow.
For example (Senecio Cineraria) thrives in zones 7 - 10 but will also perennial in zones 5 - 6 with some losses. Obviously depending on how bad that winter actually was.
You could also go with (Silver Brocade) which looks very similar but is considered perennial zones 2- 9. The hardy variety!!!
Anyways...This is all from my own experience and some varieties researched online!
Hope that helps :-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 1:16AM
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agardenstateof_mind

Well, now I'll have to try leaving some out through the winter to see what happens. Unfortunately, the stores in this area have caught on and sell dianthus as perennials ... at perennial prices, of course. In mild winters, I have had snapdragons overwinter - not reseed - overwinter: new green growth emerging from the old woody stems. Doesn't happen often, though.

Rkapolka, I've had fairly good success rooting cuttings of dusty miller. Hope yours will do as well.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 7:43PM
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