Cineraria, or dusty miller, isn't grown for its inconsequential flower but for the silvery foliage that provides a striking contrast to the green colour of other garden plants. The leaves form a lacelike pattern that further adds to its ornamental quality. Cineraria thrives in most soil types, and it doesn't require fertilisation or frequent maintenance to look its best. It grows from seed started indoors in early spring, but it's also readily available as a nursery bedding plant.
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Things you need
Work a 2-inch layer of compost into a well-drained bed that receives full to partial sunlight. Loosen the soil to a 6- to 8-inch depth.
Dig a planting hole with the same depth as the nursery pot and twice as wide. Lift the plant from the pot and set it in the hole so the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface. Space the plants 12 inches apart.
Fill in the hole around the roots with soil. Water the bed until the soil is moistened to a 6-inch depth.
Water cineraria once a week or when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feels dry. Cineraria tolerates drought but produces its fullest growth when provided with some moisture.
Pinch off the flower stems at their base before they begin to bloom. The yellow flowers provide minimal ornamental qualities, and allowing bloom results in a leggy, unattractive plant.
Tips and warnings
- Mulching around the plants prevents the soil from drying too quickly and helps suppress weed seed germination.
- The foliage survives light frost so the plant continues to provide garden interest into the fall months.
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