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Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)
Centaurea montana ‘Amethyst in Snow’ (photo courtesy of Kimberley Navabpour)

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Zone
Zones 8-30, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Centaurea cineraria

Dusty Miller
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Perennials

CENTAUREA

Out of some 500 species, only a dozen or so are widely cultivated. Of these, annuals are grown mainly for cut flowers; perennial kinds are valued for soft, silvery foliage. All are relatively easy to grow. For best performance, add lime to acid soils. Sow seeds of annuals or set out plants of perennial kinds in spring or fall. (In desert regions, plant all in autumn for winter and spring bloom.)

Centaurea cineraria (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Centaurea cineraria (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Centaurea cineraria

The common name (dusty miller) is used for many plants with whitish foliage. Perennial, native to Italy. Compact growth to 1 ft. wide and 1 ft. or taller. Velvety white, strap-shaped leaves with broad, roundish lobes, mostly in a basal clump. Solitary 1-in. flower heads (purple, occasionally yellow) in summer. Trim back after bloom. Blossoms attract bees. Very drought-tolerant but can take regular irrigation.

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