Maximize Your Home Garden by Nurturing Easy to Grow, Useful and Pretty Strawflowers!
The strawflower, often called the Everlasting Daisy or Paper Daisy, is native to Australia. In fact, these pretty creatures are considered to be wildflowers there. But in other countries, specifically in the United States, strawflowers are cultivated by gardeners because of their charming beauty.
Strawflowers belong to the daisy family. However, this animated and vibrant plant produces blooms that are quite distinctive—and yes, blooms that are truly fascinating.
Strawflowers contain less moisture than other flowers, making them ideal for drying. Hence for fresh floral arrangement, it is best to pick strawflowers in the morning when they contain highest amounts of moisture.
Strawflowers naturally feel papery and straw-like, which differentiate them from other members of the daisy family. Their long lasting vase life is also one of the reasons why gardeners, florists, and crafters love them.
Strawflowers can grow about 2 to 3 feet in height. However, there are also dwarf varieties that can only grow around 20 inches in height. The flowers generally have a diameter of about 2 to 3 inches.
They can come in different shades of yellow, rose, orange, red, white and pink. The flowers bloom sometime in the middle of summer up to frost.
Strawflowers are propagated by seeds or softwood cuttings. When growing strawflowers by seeds, you may directly sow strawflower seeds outdoors or start the seeds indoors.
Starting Seeds Indoors – Start by sprinkling the seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Spread them carefully above the growing medium. The seeds shouldn’t be covered because they need light to grow. Then moisten the seeds with warm water once or twice daily, and place the container in a location that is sunny and warm. Germination will occur in 7 to 10 days at 70°F.
When the seedlings appear ready and are a few inches tall, the seedlings can be transplanted outdoors.
Sowing Seeds Outdoors – Plant strawflower seeds directly in your flower garden in the spring, when the soil has warmed to approximately 55°F. This may be at the same time as when you will start growing Marigolds and Zinnias. Strawflowers can grow in average garden soil. To prepare the flowerbed, you need to dig about 3 inches into the dirt. Space seeds 9 to 18 inches apart depending on the variety. The flowerbed should be exposed to sunlight throughout the day.
How to Grow
Strawflowers are very easy to grow because they are heat tolerant and can survive in poor soil conditions. The only major requirement for growing strawflowers is slight watering. Although they like dry soil, they cannot tolerate very dry conditions. When transplanting young strawflower plants outdoors, the whole root ball should be buried. Otherwise, the plant will not grow properly and may even die. Add a generous amount of general-purpose fertilizer around the base of the plant once a month to help provide sufficient nourishment. Dig the fertilizer in with a garden rake.
Strawflower plants will not need much intervention during the growing season and watering will only be necessary every week. However, if the weather is hot and humid, watering will be needed more frequently at about 2 to 3 times a week.
There is also the option of using a drip tube system to directly provide water to the roots of the plant. This will prevent the problem of drenching the flowers and leaves which can cause damage.
Stake strawflowers that stand two feet or more to provide support against the harsh wind.
Pests and Diseases
Strawflowers are prone to mildew and other diseases. Avoid excessive watering to prevent mildew. You may also treat fungi and control pests using organic fungicides and pesticides.