HELICHRYSUM

FAMILY: Asteraceae

TYPE
  • Annuals
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Moderate Water

Plant Details

Best known are the annual strawflowers (H. bracteatum and H. subulifolium) used in fresh and dried arrangements. Others, though less familiar, are choice plants for landscape use. Seldom bothered by deer.

H. bracteatum (Xerochrysum bracteatum). STRAWFLOWER. Annual. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. From Australia. To 23 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide, with straplike, 2- to 5-in.-long, medium green leaves. Blooms from summer until frost, bearing many papery, 212-in. flowers that look like prickly pompons. Colors include yellow, orange, red, pink, and white. Known as everlasting because its blossoms last indefinitely when dried. Sow in place in late spring or earliest summer (at same time as zinnias). Dwarf forms are also available.

For shrubby perennial forms (such as 'Cockatoo', 'Dargan Hill Monarch', 'Diamond Head') previously included with annual strawflower, see Bracteantha bracteata.

H. italicum (H. angustifolium). CURRY PLANT. Woody-based perennial in Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11; can be grown as annual elsewhere. From southern Europe. Spreading, branching plant to 2 ft. high, about as broad, with crowded, narrow, nearly white leaves to 112 in. long. Leaves emit a strong fragrance of curry powder when bruised or pinched; though they are not used in curry, a few can add a pleasant aroma to a salad or meat dish. Bright yellow, 12-in. flower heads appear in clusters 2 in. across, midsummer to autumn.

H. petiolare. LICORICE PLANT. Perennial in Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11; can be grown as annual elsewhere. From South Africa. Woody-based plant to 1123 ft. high, with trailing stems to 4 ft. long. White, woolly, inch-long leaves; insignificant flowers. Licorice aroma sometimes noticeablein hot, still weather, for example, or when leaves are dry. 'Licorice Splash' has variegated, yellow-green foliage; 'Limelight' has luminous light chartreuse leaves; and 'Variegatum' has foliage with white markings. All kinds are useful for their trailing branches, which will thread through mixed plantings or mix with other plants in large pots or hanging baskets. For the so-called dwarf form, see Plecostachys serpyllifolia.

H. subulifolium (Schoenia filifolia). YELLOW STAR. Annual. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. From western Australia. Mound-shaped plant to 20 in. tall, 1012 in. wide, with glossy, green, 5-in. leaves and bright, shining, orange-yellow summer flowers 112 in. wide. Excellent for fresh or dried arrangements.

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