Also known as Paper Daisies or Everlasting Flowers these papery-petalled flowers can be used both fresh in posies and really come into their own as dried flowers that can extend your floral giving into the Autumn and Winter.
I'll be starting mine off under cover in May. Sow onto the surface of the compost - they need light to germinate. Prick out when first two true leaves appear into 9cm pots and plant seedlings into garden after last frost. Will self-sow if left to go to seed.
Final Spacing: 22cm
Position: Full sun
Hardiness: H2 ( Can go down to 1-5 degrees - cannot survive being frozen)
Time to maturity: 70 days
Harvest: Flowers July - September
Here's a few more details if you'd like to know more about them.
With their papery bracts (not petals - the petals are actually on the tiny florets that make up the centre of the flower - see the orange part of the flowers pictured above), these are such a unique flower to grow - and are part of the daisy family.
They come in orange, yellow, pink, white and purple - I'll be growing 'Silver Pink' as part of our May Flower Kit.
You can sow these under cover any time between March and May - but note they are only an H2 in terms of hardiness which means they can only survive down to 1-5 degrees Centigrade. Lower than that and you'll lose them which means, if you want to be more certain of success - wait until it's warmed up a bit - for me that means mid-May and not before.
Sow onto the surface of the compost - they need light to germinate. Prick out when first two true leaves appear into 9cm pots.
You can also direct sow by watering soil thoroughly then sowing directly onto the surface, thinning to their final distance when they are a few cm tall.
And by the way - this is a great flower to get the kids to help because it's just, frankly, a little bit weird and they like that kind of thing :)
Plant seedlings into garden after last frost, adding some compost into the planting hole before you pop them in. Click here to find your last frost date. If you start them with me in May - that means there's no chance of planting them out too early so one less thing to worry about.
The more sun the better for these plants (they are originally from Australia) - they'll thank you for it with sturdier stems so easier for arranging when it comes to that time.
It's so easy to get over-excited at the start of March and sow every half hardy annual seed you can get your hands on, but if you can bring yourself to slow down to the speed of flowers, you'll have a much flowerier flower patch for a longer period of time.
There's no need pinch these.
They are drought-tolerant plants so don't mind being a little on the dry side but you do still need to water them! Water near the base of the stems, avoiding the leaves to make sure the leaves don't get damaged by sun scorch - and only if the soil has been dry for a few days.
Stake them if neccessary.
As long as you keep to the correct spacing so the air can move around them (which will help you avoid powdery mildew) and don't over water (which can lead to fungal diseases and rotting), then you should be all good.
These are the ultimate flowers to dry - mainly because if you pick them when they are just starting to open, they will continue to open while they dry and then maintain their colour and shape - forever. Hence the name, Everlasting Flowers.
Pick, turn upside down and dry somewhere dark (if you want them to keep their colour) or somewhere lighter (if you are into the vintagey look and want them to fade like the picture below), but with good ventilation - I use my shed.
Harvest: Flowers July - October.
When harvesting, cut at the base of the stem and remove all the leaves before conditioning. If you're not giving every flower you have, make sure to deadhead to encourage more flowers.
They look perfect just given in a bunch or jam jar all on their own.