Blooming Plant of
Helichrysum bracteatum (hel-ih-KRY-sum brak-tee-AY-tum)
Strawflowers are warm-weather annuals or short-lived perennials.
They have thin, lance-shaped, grayish-green leaves up to 5
inches long and sandpapery, hollow, branching stems that can
reach 3 to 4 feet. The daisy-shaped blossoms are about 2 inches
across and can be individual or in few-flowered clusters on the
ends of the branches. The “petals” are actually bracts
surrounding the central disc of florets. The bracts are papery
with a strawlike, crackly texture, which is why they are called
Strawflowers are available in varying hues of pink, red, orange,
yellow, purple, maroon and white. Many are bicolored or
With appropriate care, blooming strawflower plants will last
indoors for about two weeks depending on the environment.
Outdoors, strawflowers are generally treated as annuals, and
they do well in containers.
There are many cultivars grown as cut flower and blooming plant
crops. Some notable varieties include:
‘DRAGON HILL MONARCH’ AND ‘DIAMOND HEAD’ They have
golden-yellow flower heads up to 3 inches across.
MONSTROSUM SERIES These 3-foot-tall annuals have double
flowers in hues of red, orange, pink or white.
BRIGHT BIKINIS SERIES These dwarf annuals have 3-inch
double flowers. The plants reach only about a foot tall.
Strawflowers are available mostly in the early summer through
In-store and consumer care
Bright diffused light is best for indoors. Full sun or filtered
sunlight is best if the plants are placed outdoors.
Keep soil evenly moist by checking plants daily. Severe
drying will cause the leaves to yellow and drop. Drying also
will delay flower development. Do not allow pots to stand in
Keep the plants in cool areas when they are not on display,
but do not refrigerate them.
temperature Keep strawflowers in a warm (65 F to 75 F) location.
Use a bloom fertilizer until the blossoms are developed and
A light potting soil mix that is well drained is best for
Strawflowers do not show sensitivity to ethylene.
Strawflowers are really outdoor annual plants. They may exhibit
yellowing leaves under interior conditions.
Strawflowers are fairly resistant to insects and disease.
Strawflowers are members of the Asteraceae, or Compositae (daisy
and aster), family. Common relatives include Gerberas,
chrysanthemums, Zinnias, Ageratums and Dahlias. They are natives
Helichrysum is from the Greek “helios” for “sun” and “chrysos”
for “golden.” The species name bracteatum refers to the bracts
associated with the flowers.
Some information provided by:
Repetto Nurseries, Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Chain of Life Network®,
You can reach “Blooming Plant of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
Images courtesy of John Henry
Company, Lansing, Mich.
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