Strawflowers - Helichrysum monstrosum / Xerochrysum bracteatum are a beautiful Australian native flower, also known as everlasting daisy or paper daisy.
Strawflowers are a heat loving, short lived perennial that bring all the beneficial pollinators into your garden.
They are simple and so rewarding to grow from seed- I've popped a few tips below to help you get them started in your garden.
Sowing the seeds in early spring will give you continuous blooms from late spring through to autumn.
Sowing + Germination Tips:
- Fill punnets with the best quality seed raising mix.
- Sow the seeds lightly on the soil surface. Press into the soil gently. Strawflower seeds need light to germinate so make sure they are not buried deeply. You can cover them with vermiculite to keep light and moisture in.
- Mist or bottom water to avoid dislodging the seeds or pushing them too deep down into the soil.
- The seeds will germinate in around 7-14 days.
- Grow the seedlings at 21-24 degrees in a greenhouse like environment.
- After six weeks of growth, the seedlings are ready to begin venturing into the outside world! Start this process off slowly by letting them spend 1 hour a day outside the greenhouse environment, working up to 5 hours over a week. This is called 'hardening off'.
- Strawflowers can grow very tall, they may need support to avoid stems breaking in high winds.
- Strawflowers like a full sun position in the garden with well draining soil.
- Once the plants are established, they do not need a lot of water.
- Strawflowers take around 85 days to bloom from seed.
Harvest strawflowers on bright mornings before the flowers have fully opened, roughly when 2-3 layers of petals are showing.
Avoid harvesting on overcast days or late at night, as over mature flowers will close fully and then reopen past their best and fall apart .
When drying strawflowers harvest as above and hang upside down as soon as harvested and leave for 2 weeks in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
Saving strawflower seeds for the next season is easy, leave the flowers to go to seed at the end of the season - they will turn fluffy on the top and the small seeds will be underneath the dandelion like fluff. Pop them in a labelled paper bag and store in a dry cool area.
Strawflowers are open pollinated, this means they are a non-hybrid type of seed that can reproduce itself to have similar traits to the parent plant from one generation to the next. If you are saving the seeds, as long as pollen is not shared between two varieties of the same species, the seeds should remain true to type year after year.