Recently reclassified from Helichrysum to Xerochrysum. These showy papery-like flowers are familiar to flower arrangers who often dry them for winter decoration.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Xerochrysum bracteatum (syn. Helichrysum bracteatum)
Common Names: Strawflower, everlasting flower, paper daisy
Foliage: Mid green lanced-shaped leaves.
Flowers: Papery everlasting flower-heads, in shades of white, pink, red, bronze and golden yellow.
Flowering Period: Mid-summer to early autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, moderately fertile, light soil. Best in loam. Any pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.
Conditions: Best in full sun.
Habit: Bushy upright.
Type: Half-hardy annual. Protect from frost.
Hardiness: Hardy to half-hardy, protect from frost
Grow in a light loamy soil in an open sunny possition. A good choice for gravel gardens, flower borders and bedding schemes. Dwarf forms are ideal for pots and containers or in the rockery.
Choose a west or south facing aspect in full sun. Tolerates either exposed or sheltered positions.
Suitable as cut flowers or for dried flower arrangements. Cut flowers before they are fully open. To preserve them, tie in bunches and and hang upside down in a cool dry place. Do not dry in direct sunlight as this will cause fading and make the stems brittle.
Feed every few weeks with a general liquid fertilizer.
Deadhead regularly to encourage side shoots and more flowers.
Generally pest free. Can be affected by downy mildew.
Sow seeds in late winter or early spring under glass in a gentle heat (18°C / 64°F). Prick-out, pot on and harden off, before planting out at the end of May when all danger of frost is past.
There are several cultivars of Xerochrysum bracteatum available from medium to dwarf height. A good choice of flower colours are obtainable.
'Bright Bikini' is a popular dwarf form in a mix of bright colours. Height to 15in (38cm). Available from Thompson & Morgan.
'Forever Mix' rich mixed colours. Height to 3ft (90cm). Available from Suttons.
'Kingsize Mixed' has larger flowers. Height to 3ft (90cm). Available from Mr Fothergill's.