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Annual Strawflower: Information On How To Grow Strawflowers

Annual Strawflower: Information On How To Grow Strawflowers


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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is a strawflower? This heat-loving, drought-tolerant plant is valued for its charming, straw-like blooms in bright shades of red, orange, pink, purple, yellow, and white. A dependable annual, strawflower is easy to get along with, rewarding you with non-stop blooms from summer until the first hard frost.

Growing Conditions for Strawflowers

Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum syn. Xerochrysum bracteatum) are members of the daisy family and growing conditions are similar. They are well-suited for the sunniest spot in your garden. Strawflowers are heat tolerant and they grow in nearly any well-drained soil.

How to Grow Strawflowers

It’s easy to plant strawflower seeds directly in the garden after you’re sure all danger of frost has passed. Dig the soil to a depth of at least 8 to 10 inches (20.3-25.4 cm.). Strawflowers don’t require rich soil but they’ll be happy if you dig in 2 to 3 inches (5.0-7.6 cm.) of compost before planting.

Sprinkle the seeds lightly on the surface of the soil. Water them lightly with a spray attachment, but don’t cover the seeds with soil.

Thin the plants to a distance of at least 10 to 12 inches (25.4-30.5 cm.) when the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches (5.0-7.6 cm.) tall. Don’t crowd the plants; strawflowers require excellent air circulation to prevent mildew and other moisture-related diseases.

You can also plant strawflower seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Fill a planting tray with a lightweight commercial potting mix and sprinkle the seeds on the surface of the mix. Water carefully to ensure the seeds make firm contact with the potting mix but don’t block sunlight by covering the seeds with soil.

Cover the tray with clear plastic to keep the environment warm and moist, then remove the plastic as soon as the seeds germinate. Transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they have at least one or two sets of true leaves (leaves that appear after the tiny seedling leaves).

Place the tray in a sunny room where the temperature is cool at night. Water as needed to keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy and feed the seedlings with a weak fertilizer solution every two weeks. Plant the strawflowers outdoors when all danger of frost has passed.

Strawflower Care

Strawflowers require very little care. Water the plants only when the soil feels slightly dry. Avoid wet, soggy soil, as strawflowers are prone to rot in wet conditions. If possible, water with a hose or drip system to keep the foliage dry.

Otherwise, maintenance involves simply pinching off faded flowers to promote continual blooming throughout the season.

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Strawflower Care - Learn About The Growing Conditions For Strawflowers - garden

Annual, Helichrysum Bracteatum

Are Strawflowers a flower or a herb? You make the call. But, for the record, let's make sure you know that Strawflowers are classified as a herb. Best of all, they are easy to grow.

Natives of Australia, Strawflowers grow up to three feet tall. These "Aussies" have big blooms that come in yellow, orange, red, rose, white, and pink. They look good in the flower bed, in vases, corsages, bouquets, and more. Once they begin to bloom in mid summer, they will reward you with bursts of color right up to frost. With a little luck, they may survive the first light frost.

Strawflowers, or Helichrysum, are "everlasting" flowers, as they can be dried and will last a long time. They make excellent winter bouquets and are popular with crafters.

Strawflower are grown from seed. Strawflower seeds can be directly seeded into your flower garden or started indoors for transplanting later. If planting outdoors, sow them just a few days before the last frost date for your area.

Sow Strawflower seeds, covering them lightly with soil. Space seeds or seedlings 18" apart to give these big plants ample room to grow.

Days to Germination: 7 - 10

How to Grow Strawflower Plants:

Strawflower plants are easy to grow. They prefer full sun to partial shade. They will do well in poor to average soils, and tolerate heat and drought conditions. Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season for maximum plant growth, and to promote big blooms.

Once your Strawflower are established, they will grow well. They will bloom from mid-summer right up to frost. They may survive light frosts.

Strawflower are fairly resistant to insects and disease. If insect or disease problems occur, treat early with organic or chemical insect repellents and fungicide.

Cut Strawflowers just before full bloom. Hang upside down to dry in a dry, well ventilated area.


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Strawflower at Phuhin rongkla

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When planning the annuals for your flower garden, consider charming and beautiful strawflowers. These bright and cheerful straw-like blooms in colors of orange, red, yellow, pink, purple and white are perfectly suited for the sunniest spot in your yard. Planted there, they will reward you with by continuously blooming from the beginning of summer until the fall’s first hard frost.

A member of the daisy family, the strawflower needs similar growing conditions. Strawflowers are heat loving and generally tolerate drought well. They grow is almost any well-drained type of soil. Once planted and established, these happy flowers require very little care. Just water them when the soil around then feels slightly dry and they will continue to grow and bloom all summer long. The only other maintenance needed is the dead-heading (pinching off faded blooms) of spent flowers to promote continual blooming.

Growing strawflowers is simple. You may plant strawflower seeds directly in your garden after any danger of spring frost passes. To plant the seeds, dig into the soil up to a depth of least eight to ten inches. Although strawflower seeds don’t have to have rich soil, they are always happy to have two or three inches of compost added to the mix before planting if you can. When the soil is ready, sprinkle the seeds lightly over the surface of the soil. Water the area lightly with a spray attachment without covering the seeds with soil. When the seedlings grow up to two or three inches tall, thin them out to a distance of ten to 12 inches apart so the plants are not crowded.

When the seedlings grow up to two or three inches tall, thin them out to a distance of ten to 12 inches apart so the plants are not crowded. Strawflowers need air circulation to keep their leaves dry and prevent mildew plus other diseases related to too much moisture. Avoid over-watering the plants also, as they rot if soil conditions are too wet.

You may also plant strawflower seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost by putting a commercial potting mix in a planting tray, sprinkling the seeds on top of the soil, and watering it enough for the seeds to stick to the soil. Cover the tray with clear plastic to keep them moist and warm until the seeds germinate. When they have grown one or two sets of leaves, transplant them into individual pots and keep them in a sunny room that is cool in the evening. When danger of frost is past, plant them in your garden.

Bright and beautiful strawflowers are dependable annuals that are easy to grow and add colorful vivacity to your garden. For more information on strawflowers and other annuals, read more from Pushing Daisies sign up to follow the site


How to Grow

Strawflowers are very easy to grow because they are heat tolerant and can survive in poor soil conditions. The only major requirement for growing strawflowers is slight watering. Although they like dry soil, they cannot tolerate very dry conditions. When transplanting young strawflower plants outdoors, the whole root ball should be buried. Otherwise, the plant will not grow properly and may even die. Add a generous amount of general-purpose fertilizer around the base of the plant once a month to help provide sufficient nourishment. Dig the fertilizer in with a garden rake.


Plant Needs

Use in planters or landscapes great in informal drifts

Deadheading not necessary for continuous bloom. Plants will "bury their dead" (new flowers will quickly cover old flowers) so no deadheading necessary.

This is the perfect plant for almost all gardens. They don't just tolerate heat - they love it, yet they can withstand surprisingly cold temperatures also. One year mine were blooming right up until a December storm encased them in ice. The one thing they do not like is the soil staying too wet. They are quite drought tolerant though, what we call "an end of the hose plant," which simply means they will thrive even if you don't add additional water through the summer. If they start looking tired during the summer, a trim back can help them quickly bounce back into top form. In containers regular fertilization will be helpful, but in the landscape they will tolerate poor soils and low fertility. However, a dose of slow-release fertilizer or some compost added at the time of planting would be helpful.

An application of fertilizer or compost on garden beds and regular fertilization of plants in pots will help ensure the best possible performance.

Flambé is one of Dr. Rick Schoellhorn's top ten favorites for Florida.

Are you looking for a plant for that hot dry part of your yard that never seems to get enough water? Flambé Chrysocephalum love heat and dry conditions and flower continuously through the summer. Small round golden-orange flowers cover the plants. Give them air circulation and bright sun. they can be planted at any time of year except winter in north Florida.

"This was a pleasant surprise. I've used this plant [Chrysocephalum] and loved it, but it took a while before it became commercially available and landscapers understood its toughness. It [Flambé Yellow] was placed at an entrance as a groundcover beneath 'Stars and Stripes' pentas, a welcoming sight to our visitors. Plants were less than 6 inches tall, had wonderful insect and disease-proof gray-green foliage and were covered with bazillions of bright yellow flowers just above the foliage. Congratulations to Proven Winners and thank you for allowing us to trial this cultivar." - Dr. Allan Armitage, University of Georgia

Drought tolerant, Heat tolerant, sandy soil tolerant, frost
tolerant to 30F with minimal damage, so good for extending season both in spring and in fall. Somewhat salt tolerant.

Goes great with Coleus Royal Glissade and any annuals or perennials where silver foliage can act as an accent. Best in bright full sun conditions!

Habit: Low mounding cultivars

Season: Spring through fall

Where does it come from: Tasmania and Australia

Tips: Like all Chrysocephalum and Helichrysum these plants love full hot sun and good air


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Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day shade means little or no direct sun.

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

Ornamental Use Ways in which the product may be used in the garden for ornamental effect.

Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year perennials can live for more than two years.

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Video

How to Sow and Plant

Strawflower may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden

Sowing Seed Indoors:

  • Sow strawflower 6-8 weeks before the last frost
  • Sow seeds evenly and thinly and barely cover with seed starting formula. Seeds need light to germinate
  • Firm lightly and keep evenly moist
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Transplanting in the Garden:

  • Plant in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Select a location in full sun in soil that drains well.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • ST plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
  • Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.

Sowing Directly in the Garden:

  • Direct sow in well-drained soil and full sun after danger of frost.
  • Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil then level and smooth.
  • Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
  • Sow seeds evenly and thinly and barely cover with fine soil. Seeds need light to germinate.
  • Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
  • Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
  • Thin to stand about 12 inches apart starting when seedlings are 2 inches high.


FLAMBE® Yellow Chrysocephalum

(Strawflower) FLAMBE® Yellow Chrysocephalum is your answer for nonstop blooms on a drought and heat tolerant plant. The unique small, button-like yellow flowers atop silvery-green foliage, bloom continuously spring through fall. No deadheading needed, as new blooms promptly appear on top of the spent flowers. Low maintenance FLAMBE® Yellow does best in full sun, and watch how butterflies are drawn to it’s nectar. FLAMBE® Yellow stands approximately 8-14 inches tall forming a mound, with a trailing habit up to 24 inches. This makes an excellent choice for hanging baskets, container gardening or as a border.

For general growing tips and how to care for your annuals. View Garden Crossings How to care for Annuals page.

Interested in growing tips for other plants we sell. Browse our Plant Care Tips.


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