How to Grow and Care for Strawflowers

Have you ever tried arranging flowers with strawflower branches? They are brilliant and can significantly improve your mood.

Strawflowers are popular for their gorgeous appearance, and it’s fun to see them in the garden every morning.

Fortunately, growing strawflowers is easy. You don’t need to buy them anymore – try growing them at home and start fun DIY projects with this flower.

 

About Strawflowers

What are Strawflowers?

Scientifically known as Helichrysum bracteatum, strawflowers are also commonly referred to as everlasting flowers.

They are native to Australia and grow in a variety of climates. These annuals typically grow 12 to 36 inches tall, with slender stems and narrow, elongated leaves.

They produce papery flowers in a spectrum of hues, including yellow, orange, red, pink, and white.

Strawflowers thrive in well-drained soil and full sunlight, blooming from late spring to early fall, adding vibrant color and texture to gardens and floral arrangements.

What are Strawflowers?
What are Strawflowers?

 

Types of Strawflowers

Cottage Pink Strawflower: Delicate pink blooms, compact growth up to 18 inches.

Purple Red Strawflower: Rich, velvety hues, stands 24 to 30 inches tall.

Golden Yellow Strawflower: Bright, cheerful petals, grows 12 to 24 inches.

Scarlet Strawflower: Intense red blooms, towers at 24 to 36 inches.

Types of Strawflowers
Types of Strawflowers

 

Benefits of Strawflowers

Strawflowers are perfect for ornament and boutique arrangements due to their longevity when dried, maintaining vibrant colors and shape for extended periods.

They enhance home decor and DIY projects like wreaths, bouquets, or potpourri. They also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, supporting local ecosystems.

Additionally, strawflowers possess anti-inflammatory properties, aiding in reducing scars, wounds, skin irritations, and inflammation, potentially offering relief for conditions like arthritis.

Benefits of Strawflowers
Benefits of Strawflowers

 

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Propagation

From Seeds

Sow in spring after frost. Surface sow in moist soil, keep moist in bright light.

Seeds sprout in 7-10 days. Harden seedlings before transplanting outdoors when temperatures stay above 60°F.

Propagation from Seeds
Propagation from Seeds

 

From Cuttings

Take 4-inch stem tips in spring or fall. Remove lower leaves, dip in rooting hormone, and plant in moist soil.

Keep warm and lit until they root, then transplant outside.

Propagation from Cuttings
Propagation from Cuttings

 

Transplanting

Wait for overcast days after frost. Transplant carefully into prepared soil.

Transplanting
Transplanting

 

How to Grow Strawflowers

Preparation

Prepare the soil with well-rotted compost. Strawflowers tolerate poor soil but need good drainage.

Clean seed trays, pots, or any other containers with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to kill any pathogens.

Use fresh, high-quality seeds from a reputable source.

 

How to Grow Strawflowers

Starting Seeds Indoors

Start seeds indoors in early spring. Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for about 12 hours.

Use modular trays with multi-purpose compost and added perlite for drainage.

Sow several seeds per cell, cover lightly with perlite, and keep moist. Thin seedlings to one per cell once they grow.

Harden off seedlings by placing them outside during the day and bringing them in at night for two weeks before planting outside.

 

Transplanting Outdoors

Transplant hardened-off seedlings in mid to late spring. Space plants 23-30 cm apart and water well. Continue regular watering for several weeks until established.

How to Grow Strawflowers from Seeds
How to Grow Strawflowers from Seeds

 

Tips:

  • Plant strawflowers with herbs like basil and thyme to deter pests and attract pollinators.
  • Pair them with sun-loving annuals such as marigolds and zinnias for a vibrant garden. 

 

How to Care for Strawflowers

Soil

Strawflowers prefer sandy or rocky soils with a mildly acidic to neutral pH of 5.5 to 6.5. However, they can grow in various soil types as long as they drain well.

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Mulch helps retain soil moisture and regulate temperature. Loosen the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches and mix in 3 inches of compost.

 

Light

Place the seed trays in a bright location but out of direct sunlight. After transplanting, let strawflowers flourish in full sun (6-8 hours per day).

Maintain a temperature between 70-75°F (21-24°C).

 

Water

Weekly watering, providing about 1 inch of water if there is no rain, keeps the flowers vibrant. Avoid overly soggy soil around the roots.

 

Fertilizer

Before planting, apply fertilizer at a rate of 300 pounds of 13-13-13 per acre.

When the plant grows, apply the rate every two weeks to ensure steady blooming.

 

Pruning and Deadheading

When strawflower plants reach about 12 inches tall, pruning the center stalk encourages side branching, resulting in more flowers and stronger stems.

Deadheading, or removing spent flowers, is crucial for continuous blooming. Cut above a leaf node when deadheading to promote more flowers.

 

Pests and Diseases

Watch for aphids and spider mites. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil if infestations occur.

Strawflowers are generally resistant to diseases but ensure good air circulation to prevent fungal issues.

How to Care for Strawflowers
How to Care for Strawflowers

 

Harvest

To know if strawflowers are ready to harvest, perform the “Wiggle Test.” Grasp the stem 8 inches below the bloom and wiggle it. If the bloom flops, wait until the stem stiffens.

Harvest a few hours after sunrise when the flowers are open enough to see. Cut in the morning when the flowers are dry.

For fresh arrangements, cut when 3 to 4 bract layers have opened. For drying, cut when 2 to 3 layers of bracts have opened.

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Harvest
Harvest

 

Preservation

After harvesting, place strawflower stems in fresh water for a few hours in a cool, dark place to keep them fresh. Then dry strawflowers to preserve for a long time.

 

Hanging Method

Hang flowers upside down in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight. The stems may become fragile, but the blooms will stay sturdy.

 

Floral Wire Method

Pop the bloom off the stem and insert floral wire through the bottom. This method keeps the flower’s shape and structure.

 

Basket or Bowl Method

Let the blooms dry naturally in a basket or bowl. This is an easy method for small projects.

Preservation
Preservation

By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow and enjoy the beauty of strawflowers in your garden and home.

How to Grow and Care for Strawflowers
How to Grow and Care for Strawflowers

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