Dusty miller companion plants include colorful flowering plants with similar dusty miller characteristics. Dusty miller is a common name for plants with silver-ish gray leaves, like silver ragwort. They are full sun-lovers, can tolerate mild cold climates, and are annuals, in case you are in a dusty miller annual or perennial dilemma.

Colorful Dusty Miller Companion Plants

We have selected plants that can be easily paired with dusty miller varieties since they have the same survival needs. 

7 Colorful Dusty Miller Companion Plants

Dusty miller companion plants bear vibrant flowers that pair nicely with the ornamental leaves of dusty millers, also classified as Senecio Cineraria, grow in the same conditions as the millers, and are a great source of attraction for pollinators. 

Our companion planting guide is all you need to know about these plants and solve your dusty miller problems, like how to make the place more attractive, etc. 

1. Hosta

Hostas are the solution to your dusty miller problems, like how to make the place more attractive. Low-growing, herbaceous perennials belong to the Asparagaceae family and are native to Asia.

They bloom white, purple, and pink flowers on long stems, way above the clumping foliage. Pair your dusty miller with a hosta to create an appealing backdrop for your flower beds. You can even add hosta companion plants, like geraniums, for a pop of color to the all-green picture.

– Growing Season

You can plant hostas in early spring or early fall, right after the summer heat. They have a slow growth rate and bloom around summertime.

Blue Hosta Plant

The smaller varieties grow the fastest and reach mature size in about three to five years, whereas the larger varieties can take up to seven years to mature. The maximum height these plants can grow up to is 48 inches, and they spread up to 60 inches. 

– Specific Needs

Hostas like to grow in places where there is less disturbance. They can be easily propagated through root division. 

The perennials love cold climates but can survive in partial sun. These plants grow in loamy, well-drained soil with an acidic pH. Consistently moist soil is necessary for the early stages of planting hostas, but as they mature, they become drought-tolerant and have less frequent watering needs. 

Furthermore, hostas require fertilizers only when your millers are not in good shape. They do not need much pruning. Just clip off the faded flowers to freshen up your plants. 

2. Zinnia

Zinnias are annuals that belong to the Asteraceae family and are native to South and North America. These plants produce flowers that are red, yellow, purple, pink, orange, and every vibrant color you can think of on long and single stems.

The flowers attract hummingbirds, meaning you will have fewer white moths hovering over your miller plants, making it a popular dusty miller companion. 

Bright Color Zinnia in Garden

Zinnia companion plants, like china aster, can also be used as miller companions. 

– Growing Season

As the weather warms up, you should start planning on planting Zinnias because they grow only once a year. Having a fast growth rate, these plants bloom in spring, summer, and fall. Once mature, they can be as tall as 4 feet and have a maximum width of 48 inches. 

– Specific Needs

Zinnia can be propagated in every way possible: seeds, root division, using the already established plants, and even cuttings. The plants require full sun to grow and do not have many fertilizing requirements; a well-draining, potting soil mix is sufficient for the plant to survive.

They require little to no water as they are drought-tolerant. Furthermore, Zinnia needs to be pruned to promote better growth.

3. Creeping Phlox 

Also known as flowering moss, the Jacobaea Maritima companion plant is a herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Polemoniaceae family and is native to North America. Its foliage maintains its beautiful green color all year round except for winter. 

The plant bears white, pink, and purple flowers that are a source of attraction for butterflies and other pollinators from which the neighboring plants benefit. Another creeping phlox distinguishing characteristic is that it is less susceptible to common pests.

– Growing Season

Spring is the best season to grow the plant after the fall frost has passed. It has a moderate growth rate and blooms in spring and summer. The plant reaches a maximum height of 12  inches and a width of only 18 inches, making it a great ground cover. 

Pink Creeping Phlox

– Specific Needs

The plant is best propagated through root division, and that too without weakening the overall health., propagating through division results in mature and overgrown plants. Furthermore, the ground-cover plant grows full to partial sun and loamy, well-drained soil with regular watering. 

Fertilizing it in late winter with slow-release granulated for early spring promotes growth and supports sturdy bloom. Furthermore, pruning is optional for these plants. Trim back the foliage after the blooming season is over to give your plants a neater look. 

The process will leave you with healthy and denser ground-covering foliage. However, you can always skip this step and let the plants grow naturally. 

4. Coral Bells

Coral bells are short-lived perennials that belong to the Saxifragaceae family and are native to North America. They have rounded, patterned, and textured silver-to-black leaves and flowers with coral, white, and pink hues that attract hummingbirds. Give your dull gardens an uplift by pairing dusty miller plants as companion plants for coral bells. 

To contrast the combination plants, you can add ornamental grasses to give a voluminous effect. 

– Growing Season

Coral bells must be planted in late fall or early spring, bloom in spring and summer with tiny flower clusters along the flower stalks, and are twice or thrice as tall as the leaf mounds.

Pink Coral Bells

They have a moderate growth rate and grow up to 18 inches in height and 24 inches wide, making them the perfect choice to be planted with dusty miller in containers.

– Specific Needs

These plants are best propagated through root division in the fall. They grow in rich, moist, well-drained soil with an acidic to neutral pH under full to partial sun conditions.

Furthermore, they require consistent watering in the first year and occasional watering. Only add quick-release fertilizer as the plant has low-feeding requirements. 

Furthermore, cutting the dry leaves is essential for better plant growth during the growing season. However, it must be done before winter, and nothing else except for the dry leaves should be pruned. 

5. Penstemon

It is a short-lived, herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Plantaginaceae family and is native to North America. The plant has spear-shaped foliage that bears spikes of pink, red, white, and purple tubular flowers. 

Penstemon is called ‘beardtongue’ because of the pollen-free stamen that sticks out from the flowers, resembling a bearded iris. The long habitat characteristic is bound to make you consider plants like dusty miller plants as penstemon companion plants. 

– Growing Season

Penstemons are best planted in spring and bloom in summer. They have a slow growth rate, but once they fully establish, they can be as tall as 8 feet and wide between 8 to 20 inches

Blooming Penstemon in Garden

– Specific Needs

Since penstemon has a short lifespan, the easiest and best method of propagating them is through seeds that germinate better if left to mature for some time. They love to grow in full sun and well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH

Penstemons are drought-tolerant but adding an inch of water per week during summer will keep the plant sturdy and promote better blooming.

Furthermore, add fertilizers only once a year in the fall and avoid adding bloom-boosting formulas as they shorten the lifespan of penstemon. They do not require pruning but can benefit from cutting off the dead flowers down the stem to promote new blooms.

6. Cleome

Miller plant has the same dry climate survival needs as cleome making it one of the most suitable cleome companion plants. Cleomes make great focal points because of their height. 

Cleomes, also known as spider flowers, or spider plants, are annuals that are a part of the Cleomaceae family and are native to South America. They have bell-shaped flowers in the prettiest shades of pink and purple—plant dusty miller with vibrant colored plants to create a colorful background for your outdoor space. 

– Growing Season

Cleomes grow best in spring after fall frost has passed and bloom in summer. They have a fast growth rate where seedlings emerge within two weeks. The established plants have a height range of 1.5 feet and can be as wide as 1 to 2 feet. 

Pink and White Cleome Plant

– Specific Needs

The best way to propagate cleomes is through seeds. Sprinkle the seeds in the garden. After the fall frost has passed, they need light to germinate. It is a matter of 10 days when you will witness the seedlings come to life. 

Furthermore, cleomes grow best in well-drained soil with an acidic to neutral pH under full to partial sun conditions. They can also survive in average-quality soils. 

Adding a couple of inches of mulch layer around cleomes will save you the hassle of watering them regularly, and you will only need to fertilize them sometimes. 

Furthermore, cleomes do not require much pruning. Trim off dead flowers and other parts in the growing season, and if you notice that the plants are shaky right before planting, cut them in half to promote better growth. 

7. Portulaca

Commonly known as Moss Rose, Portulacas are annual flowering, ground-covering succulents that are members of the Portulacaceae family and are native to South America. Portulaca leaves are fleshy, oval to spoon-shaped, widest near the tip, and can store water when available. 

Plant dusty with its rose-resembling flowers that are either bright or pastel red, pink, yellow, orange, or even bicolored. Portulaca companion plants like salvia also pair nicely with the miller because of their tall height. 

– Growing Season

The best season to plant portulaca is spring, right after the risk of fall frost has passed, and its bloom time starts in early summer and lasts till frost.

Blooming Moss Rose in Garden

Portulacas have a fast growth rate and reach heights up to 8 inches and a maximum width of 12 inches when fully mature. 

– Specific Needs

Portulacas are readily propagated through cuttings because of the instant results. Furthermore, they grow in full sun, sandy and well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH, and have low watering needs. However, water the plant if it hasn’t rained in a long time. To promote healthy growth, add slow-release fertilizer to the plants. 

Moss Rose requires little pruning if you live somewhere where they can thrive all year round. The best time to prune the moss roses is early spring, just before the blooming season. Cut off any part that looks dead, and you can even thin the plant to promote air circulation and prevent fungal diseases. 

Conclusion

Dusty miller companions are a great way of incorporating colors and attracting pollinators in your gardens. The millers are not only low-maintenance plants outdoors, but dusty miller indoor care is as simple as it can get and is pretty much similar to its companions.

Whichever plant you choose, always remember the following points for the article above:

  • Go for flowering moss if having pests in your garden is something you must deal with regularly.
  • Portulacas make a distinctive succulent ground cover. 
  • Penstemon is a head-turning plant because of its tubular flowers. 

After looking at these plants you know exactly what to do to benefit your Dusty millers.

References

  • https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/43609
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