Dusty Miller is a very pretty perennial that offers silvery-gray foliage that adds a very compact but eye-catching look to your garden. It’s a timeless garden plant that will be around for decades more, and there are many dusty miller companion plants you can use to create a stunning look.
To get a very dramatic look, plant your dusty miller right with flowering blooms. These types of dusty miller companion plants will work very well to offset the silvery foliage, especially blue flowers. This particular combination will add an elegant feel to your space, especially with how the silver contrasts to the deeper hues of the surrounding plants. You can also create a contrasting red, white, and orange look by adding dusty miller around all of your roses, narcissus, or lilies.
Due to the Mediterranean roots, dusty miller is a great perennial to have if you live in zones 8 to 11. Also, it’s considered one of the easiest perennials to grow when you live in warmer climates, and this makes it a great choice for beginner gardeners to try out. You can plant it in a container or in the ground, and you’ll most likely get very positive results that will surprise you.
Don’t forget to ensure that your dusty miller gets plenty of sunlight to ensure you’ll see the stunning silver-colored foliage. This plant will tolerate partial shade, but it needs more light to thrive. If you notice that the leaves are taking on a paler hue, this is one of the first signs that you have to move it to a brighter spot in your yard.
Consider adding dusty miller companion plants around it to give yourself a stunning arrangement or garden. Pick plants that love well-drained soils and don’t mind being in direct sunlight. We’re going to list 10 great dusty miller companion plants that you can consider adding to your garden lineup to create a pretty and colorful look from spring well into the fall months.
Angelonia is a very delicate-looking but stunning plant that makes a fabulous dusty miller companion plant. It has saliva-like flowers when it blooms that can get up to two feet high or more, and the darker foliage will help your dusty miller’s silver color pop. The blooms on this plant can be purple, white, or pink, depending on which variety you picked out. If your main goal is to get color into your garden, consider adding dusty miller and angelonia, especially if you live in an area that has sunny, hot summer months. Plus, this flower produces a scent that draws butterflies and bees to your yard, so they’ll liven up your space a lot too.
Basil makes a nice dusty miller companion plant. Not only does it look very lovely by itself, but it’ll give you a constant supply of a flavorful kitchen herb that you can use in a broad range of dishes. Basil adores being planted in sunlight, and it’ll thrive under the exact same conditions as dusty miller does. Also, basil has a very unique scent that is pleasant for more people but works well to keep harmful pests and weeds at bay.
Begonias are nice dusty miller companion plants, and this is a flowering plant that can work to protect your garden from some diseases and pests. Also, begonias attract a range of pollinators that will feed on some of the harmful insects that can cause damage to your garden. Also, the bright red flowers contrast nicely with the small yellow flowers and silver foliage dusty miller offers.
The two plants grow well under the same conditions, and they require a well-draining soil to grow without any root rot. Consider planting begonias and dusty miller close together to make the most out of this mutually beneficial relationship. However, you should leave some space between the two so they don’t compete for nutrients and to help ensure healthy growth.
Bugleweed is a very fast-growing perennial that looks pretty when you use it as a dusty miller companion plant. The two plants love full sun, and they like moist climates, so taking care of them is an easy process. Plus, this plant produces pretty purple flowers that grow vertically to form a cone shape that looks stunning when it’s right alongside the silvery hues of dusty miller.
5. Creeping Phlox
Creeping phlox is a very low-growing perennial that works like a very pretty ground cover, especially when you put it in rock gardens. While dusty miller will tolerate drought, it likes moisture. So, creeping phlox makes a great dusty miller companion plant as it can help the soil retain moisture and stay cooler throughout the summer. Not only that, but it’ll boost your garden’s aesthetics. Creeping phlox produces pink or purple flowers that pair stunningly with dusty miller’s brighter hues. The fact that both plants will thrive when you put them in the same growing conditions is another benefit.
Hostas often get grouped under the category of shade-loving plants, but they actually thrive when you put them in direct sunlight. Add hostas to your dusty miller companion plants to create an attractive background for all of your flower beds. These two plants are mutually beneficial when you plant them side by side because they nicely complement each other’s looks, attract pollinators as they bloom, and help deter harmful pests.
7. Mini Snapdragons
There are several other plants in the snapdragon family that share this name outside of the Antirrhinum majus species. These plants generally have a shorter lifespan when it comes to the growth and bloom cycle, and this leads many people to use them as an annual dusty miller companion plant, even if they’re technically a perennial. The aspect that makes them such popular companion plants and border plants is their height, even the miniature ones. They also attract a range of beneficial pollinators to the space.
8. Ornamental Grasses
You could write an entire book with the sheer number of ornamental grasses available to you, and some turn pretty colors during autumn while others produce flowers. But, what’s more important with this dusty miller companion plant is that they come in a range of sizes, shapes, and growth rates. There are smaller clumping cultivars that you can plant among your dusty miller, or you can get larger ornamental grasses and use them as a backdrop to showcase the silvery foliage dusty miller produces.
Any beginner gardeners should try petunias and plant them as dusty miller companion plants as they’re easy to grow and will thrive under the same conditions. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your petunia flowers from the start of the summer until late in the fall months when most plants go dormant. Adding petunias to the mix means that you can enjoy a flowering garden for longer, and this is never a bad thing.
When it comes to this plant, you have virtually limitless choices when it comes to colors, and you can find hues for any taste. All you have to do is pick out the ones you like the most and give them the correct care so they thrive. For a more dramatic look, consider adding a wave petunia cultivar. These plants can reach four feet high at full maturity, and they are fantastic ground covers when you need plants that help with soil retention.
Finally, no matter if you pick out a mounding or upright cultivar, zinnias are one plant you can’t go wrong with when you use it as a dusty miller companion plant. It’s also growing on the International Space Station. These plants will produce a single flower per plant on a long stem that attracts hummingbirds. Not only does this draw in the pollinators, but the relationship between hummingbirds and these plants means you’ll have less whiteflies as hummingbirds eat them.
As you can see from this short guide, finding dusty miller companion plants isn’t a huge project. However, you’ll have to pay close attention to the plants you pick out to ensure they all like the same growing conditions to set them up for success.
Consider testing your soil’s pH levels to ensure that your soil has adequate nutrients for your plant’s growth. If you get it right, your companion plants can form mutually beneficial relationships where you draw in pollinators and natural predators to keep the pest population at bay to protect all of your other plants. You can figure out which combinations improve your garden the best and enjoy a show all spring and summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.