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Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Ask Ella: Why You Can Always Count On Dusty Miller

Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about floral design– including the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight Dusty Miller– an old stand-by we never stop loving.

As a filler foliage, Dusty Miller (Centaurea cineraria) is almost as ubiquitous as Baby’s Breath (though far less despised). It is the plant that sustains us through winter, its velvety, intricately cut silver leaves an appropriately seasonal display. Sometimes known by its more poetic name “silver dust”, the plant (despite its frosty associations) is native to the island of Capraia in Italy, though it grows easily in many southern regions of the United States.


Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Dusty Miller looks best when paired with muted tones, like soft pinks, greens, and whites. “Dusty Miller goes with everything,” Ella told us. “You really can’t go wrong, especially when you pair it with winter tones.” As for care, Ella advises splitting the stems, placing them in hot water, and then placing them in cold water for arranging. Dusty Miller can also be hung and dried for use in DIY crafts or seasonal displays, as it retains its color, texture, and shape well.

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