Senecio silver-leaved cineraria
Height 23-45cm (9-18in)
Planting distance 30cm (1ft)
Dry to well-drained
Half-hardy shrub grown as annual
Arching sprays of intricately dissected, white felted leaves make Senecio maritimus (syn. S. bicolor) an excellent foliage plant for summer bedding schemes.
Silver-leaved cineraria is evergreen, near-hardy in many regions and will survive most winters, but it is usually treated as an annual bedding plant since the lustrous foliage becomes coarse in subsequent years. Clusters of groundsel-like yellowappear during summer but are best removed as they are less attractive than the silvery leaves.
Varieties developed from the species offer different leaf forms. ‘Cirrhus’ has bright silver, rounded leaves. ‘Dwarf Silver’ is only 23cm (9in) tall and suitable for window-boxes; the bright silver foliage is deeply cut and fringed. ‘Silver Dust’ forms a mound of silvery fern-like foliage.
Sow the seeds in pans or boxes in late winter to early spring, at a temperature of 16°C (61°F). Prick out the seedlings into pots or boxes and harden off before planting out in late spring. Set the plants 30cm (1ft) apart in good soil in sun.
Pests and diseases
Birds may attack the leaves andcan be a problem.