Jacobaea maritima

Jacobaea maritima
Jacobaea maritima 
silver ragwort, dusty miller
SIZE/TYPE low perennial
USUAL WIDTH 0.3-0.4m
LEAVES evergreen broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES +multicoloured:silver and silvery-blue
FLOWERS insignificant or non-blooming
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE any (acidic to alkaline)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS dry and sharply drained (xeriscape)
USDA zone (lowest) 7   (down to -18°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
Evergreen broadleaf
náhled fotonáhled fotonáhled foto
Silvery leaves in perennial beds bring the exotic feeling of hot southern summers and at the same time create a perfect contrast to all the other leaves in the common colours like green, yellow or glaucous. Next to famous lavenders, this group contains for example santolina, helichrysum, artemisia, and some species of centaurea or silene. Some of them are all generally called dusty miller just like this one that has recently been renamed from Senecio cineraria to Jacobaea maritima. Are you saying that you surely know this plant as an annual? Well, keep on reading and get ready for a surprise.

Silver ragwort comes from the Mediterranean basin and its home is in all South-European countries, as well as North Africa, Turkey, and Greece. It makes woolly, evergreen leaves which are densely covered with the finest silvery grey indumentum that nature invented. Their colour is dark green, yet it is almost invisible thanks to the rich portion of silver hairs. They are incised so delicately that they look like Brussels lace when mass planted. And from up close they resemble antlers of a young deer.

There are several varieties that differ in leaf shape, size, or colour. Very successful is the Silver Dust variety with particularly bright leaves and lower growth. In England, it received the AGM (Award of Garden Merit) for beauty and reliability from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). We have not trialled large-leaved varieties yet.

In its native habitat, silver ragwort is a subshrub forming a woody base, growing to less than one meter in height and about half in width as soon as it starts branching out from the second year. In Central European climate, for many years, it was only considered and sold as an annual. But sometimes someone didn't know it, planted it in the garden and lo and behold, it kept on growing even after winter. Surprises often rise from ignorance, so I planted a few of them, too, and it really worked. So far they have withstood -19 °C with the longest life span of 5 years. It may seem short-lived, but given its usually low purchase price, it's always a great buy bringing a lot of excitement to your garden.

Jacobaea loves full sun and can only tolerate a very light partial shade. It copes with heat, wind, drought, and sea salt and requires a well-drained bed with normal or even poor soil. It will even grow on a sandy loam. There is no need for a winter cover so you can enjoy its beauty all year round without virtually no maintenance. Just remove a few old unsightly leaves in spring. There is no need to cut, but overgrown plants can be rejuvenated by hard pruning to a solid framework. The hardiness described above will only work under the growing conditions listed here, and only if planted in the garden – it does not usually survive in outdoor pots after winter.

Last update 06-10-2023
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Jacobaea maritima Silver Dust
Jacobaea maritima

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Santolina chamaecyparissus
Helichrysum italicum
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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