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CENTAUREA cineraria

Image of Centaurea cineraria

Gerald L. Klingaman



Botanical Name

CENTAUREA cineraria

Plant Common Name

Dusty Miller

General Description

Mounds of silvery white foliage, stunning in daylight glowing eerily in night gardens, make dusty miller a favorite of gardeners everywhere. This perennial is often grown as an annual and is native to southern Europe mostly Italy.

Botanically known as a sub-shrub, dusty miller will develop a woody base with age. The plants are evergreen and well branched. The leaves alternate each other on the stem. They are extremely variable, most are oblong to oval, much divided and often look like feathers or intricate lace. The silver color of the leaf is from the dense mat of small thick hairs which cover the upper and lower surfaces. Small daisy-like flowers produced singly or in few-flowered clusters top the branches in summer. They have many purple, yellow or white petals. Most gardeners remove the flowers to preserve the look of the foliage. This species,Centaurea cineraria, is just one of the many species known as dusty miller.

This plant t is drought tolerant and grows best in soil with good drainage. Full sun is best in most locations but in hot humid zones, shade in the hottest part of the day during the summer is preferred. Dusty miller is frost and freeze sensitive. It is also heat tolerant, but plant it so there is plenty of air circulation because high humidity can cause leaf rot. When used as a perennial, trim the plants after flowering to discourage their tendency to sprawl open.

The silver foliage makes dusty miller a good choice as a filler plant. It is beautiful when combined with bright vivid colors which pop against the white leaves. Both the foliage and flowers are suitable for cutting and are beautiful in arrangements. Use Centaurea cineraria in moon gardens, containers, beds and cutting gardens.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    8"-36" / 20.3cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    12"-36" / 30.5cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe, Mediterranean

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow, Purple

  • Fruit Color


  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Blue Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Blue Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Blue Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Blue Green, Silver

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Cutflower, Edging, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing