Strawflowers are unique and beautiful flowers that have been used in gardens and bouquets for centuries. With their bright, cheerful colors and long-lasting blooms, they bring joy and beauty to any garden or arrangement. Not only are they attractive, but they also require minimal care, making them an ideal choice for novice gardeners or those who want to enjoy the beauty of flowers without having to devote a lot of time to maintenance.
Strawflowers, also known as everlasting flowers, are a type of flower that can be dried and preserved for long periods of time. They look like daisies and are characterized by their large head. The flowers are native to Australia but are now grown around the world in temperate climates. The plant is heat and drought-tolerant. Strawflowers come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them popular for both decorative purposes and as ingredients in potpourri and dried flower arrangements. The strawflower's vibrant colors make it popular with florists, who use it to create beautiful arrangements for any occasion. This makes them a great addition to any home or garden.
On average, strawflowers can reach heights of between 1 and 3 feet depending on the variety. Taller varieties will need to be staked. They tend to be shorter when planted in containers or when grown indoors. Deadheading the flowers helps to remove spent blooms and encourages new blooms to appear, keeping the plant looking healthy and vibrant. They are a tender perennial in zones 8-11 and an annual in other zones. There are some varieties that are perennials.
Strawflowers are an interesting species of flowers that have a unique ability to close their bracts when it rains or when watered. They will also close when it is dark and on an overcast cloudy day. When the plant dries it will open again. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also provide protection against the elements.
Strawflowers can be grown from seed. The optimal way to grow them is to start the seeds indoors three to six weeks before the last frost. For germination, light is needed so do not cover the seeds with soil. Once leaves start to appear you can transplant them to a larger container. When you plant them in the ground space them 10-12 inches apart.
They can also be sown directly into your garden, but if you have a short-season garden it is better to start your seeds indoors. Most strawflowers take approximately 85 days. Seed germination is best above 70 degrees, so if you are in a northern climate, it is better to start your seeds indoors.
Soil - The ideal soil for strawflowers is well-drained and slightly acidic, with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. It should also be high in organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.
Light - They require bright light to thrive and bloom. If you are growing them outdoors, choose an area with full sun exposure throughout the day for the best results. They can tolerate some shade.
Water - While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to watering, and even though these plants are drought tolerant don’t let them go too long without watering them. Weekly watering will keep them looking fresh and happy. Do not let the roots get soggy.
Temperature and Humidity - To ensure their beauty and longevity, it is important to maintain the right temperature and humidity levels. The best temperature for strawflowers is between 65-75°F during the day, and 55-65°F at night. These plants are not frost tolerant and prefer warm weather and low humidity.
Fertilizer - In general, a balanced fertilizer should be used every two weeks during the growing season to ensure that your strawflowers get all the nutrients they need.
Pests and Diseases – Strawflowers are generally pest and disease free. A common disease that can affect strawflowers is powdery mildew when the plant does not get enough air circulation. Make sure your plant gets plenty of space from other plants. These plants have also had an issue with yellow aster virus. This causes the plant to look stunted and yellow. It is often transferred from another diseased plant. Be sure to remove any plants that are showing this disease to prevent spreading.
Drying Strawflowers – If you want dried sunflowers harvest them when the blooms are dry but are closed. If you are going to use them as flowers remove the leaves before drying them. Next, bind them with twine or a rubber band and hang them upside down. This method allows the flowers to dry naturally while preserving their vibrant colors and shapes. By drying the flowers upside down, you can also avoid any damage that may occur from laying them flat on a surface. With proper care and preparation, you can ensure that your strawflowers will last for years to come.
Strawflower photos courtesy of Jill Mazur.
Dried flower photo from Shutterstock.