This little project started out as a challenge to salvage the reputation of Dusty Miller, the plant that garners disdain from many professional garden designers. After pondering the shape and texture of Dusty Miller for over a month, I realized it’s the PERFECT Halloween plant and would make a great Gothic container arrangement.

Dusty Bones consists of the original zombie plant—the Dusty Miller—and some skulls, bony hands, spiders and webbing.

Look how the Dusty Miller’s leaves eerily resemble rib cages. Pretty creepy right? This is why I named this arrangement Dusty Bones. It really wasn’t difficult to put together, I’ll outline my materials and steps below.


  • black pot, in this case, a black Halloween pail from the dollar store
  • ice pick or drill to make drainage holes in the pail
  • coffee filter or drainage stones
  • enough Dusty Miller to fill the selected pot
  • potting soil
  • 2 bags of plastic skulls from the dollar store
  • 2 bags of bony hands from the dollar store
  • enough wooden kitchen skewers for 1 per skull and hand
  • medium grey acrylic craft paint
  • small, cheap paint brush, don’t waste money on a fancy brush for this
  • hot glue gun
  • fake spider webbing and plastic spiders


  1. If the container you chose is not a bona fide pot, you’ll need to create drainage holes. Depending on the material the container is made from, use an ice pick or drill and make 4 —6 holes.
  2. I’m always running short of proper drainage stones for containers so I’ll often use a coffee filter instead. Since the container isn’t supposed to last forever, it usually works fine. Either way, you need to place stones or a coffee filter in the pot.
  3. Using the potting soil and your Dusty Miller(s), arrange and plant as you would normally.
  4. Water thoroughly.

While the Dusty Miller is draining, lay out the tools for the next part.

I didn’t need to poke a hole in the skulls or anything, just hot glued the grey painted skewers to their bases as shown here.
Likewise, the bony hands didn’t need anything more than a dab of hotglue.
  1. Paint the skewers a medium grey so they won’t be so noticeable among the Dusty Miller’s leaves.
  2. Once dry, hot glue the skulls and hands onto the skewers, one per skewer. Gently prop up as needed so they cool straight.
  3. Now just poke those skulls and bony hands into the pot among the leaves. Notice and revel in how the Dusty Miller’s leaves resemble rib cages. Cool eh?
  4. Dress up the pot with fake spider webbing and hang a few spiders from it.

That’s pretty much it. I’ll probably move Dusty Bones indoors during winter, we kinda got this year-round Halloween thing going.

You can see how the skewers are painted grey to blend in with the Dusty Miller.