July 24, 2017

A Good Filler

Dusty Miller 'Silverdust'

Janine Pineo Photo | Dusty Miller 'Silverdust'

Amidst all the heavy bloomers and show-stopping color in the plant world are those little entities we are encouraged to purchase as “filler.” They help fill in here and there, we’re told. Sometimes filler plants provide “contrast” to help the showier plants show off even more. Take dusty miller, that silvery leaf that looks fake and feels like a fake felted plant. It makes other plants look good. But dusty miller, Jacobaea maritima, is a sweet little plant in and of itself. A Mediterranean native, it is actually an evergreen subshrub in Zones 8 to 10 that can reach up to 3 feet in height. And it blossoms in a sunny yellow — clusters of daisylike flowers, no less — made all the sunnier against that silvery white foliage. What’s even lovelier about this oceanside cliff grower that so often goes unseen in its use as a filler plant is it is used in homeopathic medicine to ease cataract symptoms.