Centaurea Gymnocarpa Cineraria Care

Centaurea Gymnocarpa Know All About Growing Silver Foliage Plant

Centaurea Gymnocarpa Velvet CentaureaCentaurea Gymnocarpa or Velvet Centaurea is a flowering plant originated in Italy, that experiences the same hot dry summers and a mediterranean climate as Australia which makes this plant perfect for most Australian gardens. The plant has silvery foliage that is finely divided and has flowers that are a fascinating colour of a jolly fuchsia-pink. The attractive contrasting flowers are thistle-like and are globular. This ornamental perennial plant belongs to the family of sunflowers, the Asteraceae family. Flowers are produced in large masses during spring and summer and attract bees and butterflies. The silver toned and lacy leaves and colourful blooms add colour to any dry garden. The plant is also called as velvet dusty miller due to its silvery grey leaves. Though the plant is almost considered endangered in the wild, dusty miller bush is becoming very popular and seen in a lot of home gardens. The flowers are often preserved and used in dry flower arrangements. This plant can grow to a height of 90-120 cm and spreads 6-8 feet wide. Once established the plant is resistant to terrible heat and drought conditions. The silver foliage colour reflects the heat back and the tiny hairs on the leaves reduce the heat on the leaf surface and this reduces moisture loss. You can plant them between other complimentary or contrasting coloured plants or blooms. I must tell you centaurea gymnocarpa is on the main food source list for the painted lady butterfly that loves to visit gardens in Australia.

As near always silver foliage plants are resistant to hot arid drought and frosty conditions, in this manner they are highly suitable for xeriscaping.

Where to plant and how to plant?

You can plant Velvet Centaurea in sunny areas in the garden. They can also survive in partially shaded areas. They can grow in any type of soil, fertile to poor soil including clayey soil. The plant prefers well-drained soil. Make sure that you provide ample spacing between the plants as they can spread to 6-8 feet. This plant requires watering sparingly as they are well adapted to summer conditions. It is winter hardy to 20 degrees F. During extreme cold conditions, the foliage will die back and will reappear when the conditions become better. In warmer regions, the top growth is not affected by cold weather. The plant needs proper air circulation and lower soil fertilisation. Overwatering can damage the plant.

Make holes which are wide but do not have to be deep to plant Centaurea. Amend the soil with organic matter before planting. Take out the plant from the container and loosen the soil around the root ball. Plant them with the roots spreading outward. Fill the hole with soil and water the soil deeply and then allow the soil to settle.

Caring for Centaurea

  • Keep the plant in the sun to get the best silver grey foliage.
  • You can start pruning when new growths start to appear near the lower part of the stem.
  • This is a vigorously growing plant and will need some pruning quite often to keep them in check.
  • If you want to prolong flowering in Velvet Centaurea, deadhead the flower stems after blooming.
  • Pruning also helps the plant to branch out and make the plant appear fuller and well grown.
  • The plant can withstand heavy pruning and can re-grow and bounces back quickly.
  • They prefer lean soil and the selection of regular application of fertilisers is not needed.
  • Avoid over watering the plant to prevent fungal diseases.


The plant can be propagated from seeds or from herbaceous stem cuttings. When using seeds for propagation collect the seeds from mature plants and sow them indoors before the last frost. You can allow the seed heads to dry on the plant. Collect and clean the seeds after drying. You can store the seeds for later use after cleaning. They are known to self seed and grow on their own in the garden.

You can also use the stem cuttings from established plants during autumn. Cuttings should be a few inches from new growth for propagation. Insert the stem cutting into potting soil and water them well. Place the pot in bright, but indirect sunlight. Cover the pot to provide a humid environment. Keep the soil only moist and not wet. Dipping the stem cuttings in rooting hormone before planting will help in easy rooting. You can later transplant the plant to the ideal permanent location where it will grow and pad out quicker.

Whether planted in sun or shade the plant produces blooms. You can add attractiveness to any dry garden with this plants great texture. They grow well on slopes with acid rocks, but never forget to remember over watering can damage the plant.


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