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.)
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.
Grows to 3 ft. high and wide, with gray-green, slightly cupped leaves and light blue flowers. ‘C...
Dense grower to 5 ft. tall and wide, with bright green leaves and lavender flowers. ‘Lynn&r...
Grows to 5 ft. tall and wide, with small, silvery leaves and deep purple flowers. ‘Silver Cloud&...