What Are The Best Dusty Miller Companions?


You might have heard of dusty miller, the name given to many plants with silvery leaves, but one of the more interesting is Jacobaea maritima.

This dusty miller plant also goes by the silver ragwort and is sometimes referred to by its previous scientific name of Senecio cineraria.

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Dusty miller is a wonderful addition to almost any garden space, and its unique foliage makes for a beautiful companion plant.

But what about plants that go best with dusty miller?

Here are several of the most popular companions for this attractive, low-lying plant.

What Are The Best Dusty Miller Companions?

Dusty miller needs companion plants that can handle the same growing conditions.

While it’s always preferable to use beneficial companion planting, several plants work well with dusty miller on a purely aesthetic basis.

Dusty Miller’s Inbuilt Benefits

Before getting into what plants go well with dusty miller, let’s first look at what this plant has.

First, it’s a sun-loving plant that can tolerate growth in partial shade.

It can also tolerate salty air and varying degrees of humidity.

In terms of resistance, deer won’t munch on it, making it an excellent choice for planting around plants deer enjoy.

It’s also inherently resistant to pests and disease, although it doesn’t actually repel said pests.

Dusty miller is also among those plants that provide nesting materials for certain species of bee, which can indirectly aid in pollinating nearby plants.

They’re relatively small, growing to approximately 12” inches, meaning they can be “layered” behind groundcovers and in front of flowers when building a tiered display.

While not particularly interesting, the flowers can bring a late-season trickle of yellow to the garden space.

But perhaps this plant’s most important ornamental benefit is how its generally oak-shaled, silvery-grey foliag4e creates a neutral transition between plants that might otherwise clash.

Beneficial Companions

Obviously, the best companions for dusty millers are those that provide additional health benefits.

This, in turn, can create a protective barrier around more vulnerable plants being grown purely for ornamental purposes.

Ajuga Reptans (Bugleweed)

Ajuga Reptans is a fast-growing perennial groundcover that produces attractive cone-shaped inflorescences that bear purple flowers, complimenting dusty miller’s yellow blooms perfectly.

While far from its native European ecosystem, this nectar-rich plant will still attract several pollinators such as butterflies and nectar-loving birds.

Basil

Prized for its use in the kitchen, basil is considered a beneficial companion plant in both flower and crop gardens.

It adds a pleasing scent to the air, but not everyone appreciates the lovely smell.

In fact, this is the power of basil to repel a wide range of insect pests, creating an effective barrier around your more vulnerable plants.

Begonia

A genus with more than 2,000 individual species and many more cultivars, begonias are a staple in many gardens.

However, they work well when placed among dusty millers. So long as you ensure enough spacing, their roots won’t compete.

Begonias attract pollinators and many species of predator insects that can help control common pests such as aphids and mealybugs.

On a more aesthetic note, begonia varieties with red blooms contrast beautifully with dusty miller’s yellow flowers.

Creeping Phlox

While dusty miller can be used as a groundcover, its height makes this a little less practical.

Instead, consider adding creeping phlox in front for an even better option.

Creeping phlox helps control weeds while keeping the soil from drying out too quickly in hot weather.

As a bonus, phlox will bear purple or pink flowers that compliment the yellows of dusty miller wonderfully.

Host

Another popular garden plant that tends to hide hidden benefits, hosts attract pollinators and predator insects to your garden.

They work best when placed behind your dusty millers, resulting in a tiered effect.

As a bonus, the foliage and blooms of both plants complement one another perfectly.

Snapdragon

While the name snapdragon is most often associated with the species Antirrhinum majus, several other plants in its genus (and even more distant relatives of the same family of plants) share this nickname.

These plants have a relatively short growth and bloom cycle, leading many gardeners to treat them ass, even though they’re technically perennial.

But what makes these popular border plants work so well with dusty millers is their combination of tall flowers (which come in various colors) and their ability to attract pollinators.

Zinnia

Whether you choose an upright or mounding variety, zinnias are simply out of this world (literally, considering they’ve even been grown on the International Space Station).

These plants produce single flowers on long stems that attract hummingbirds.

Not only does this mean more pollinators, but the relationship between zinnias and hummingbirds can often also mean a decline in whiteflies, which are a snack for many hummingbird species.

Aesthetic Companions

Of course, not all plants provide tangible benefits beyond sheer beauty.

Feel free to mix and match various plants that contrast or compliment your dusty miller’s flowers and foliage.

In the meantime, here are three good suggestions to get you started:

Angelonia

This flowering plant hails from Brazil and is often compared to snapdragons when looking at its blooms.

The most common angelonias found in American gardens tend to be cultivars of Angelonia Angustifolia.

Unfortunately, this plant has become highly specialized to be pollinated by oil bees, so it won’t provide as much benefit to your garden as snapdragons do.

Ornamental Grasses

One could write an entire book regarding all the different ornamental grasses out there, some of which produce flowers and others turn wonderful colors in the autumn.

But what’s more important is that you have various shapes, sizes, and growth rates to choose from.

Small, clumping species can be planted among your dusty millers to great effect, while larger varieties that may tend to stretch out will work better as a backdrop to the silvery foliage of your dusty miller.

Petunia

This garden classic is well-known for an almost limitless color palette appearing from summer through fall.

You can plant them among your dusty millers or use the taller wave petunias for a wonderful backdrop.



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