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Strawflowers why they are best as cut flowers

Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteantha) also known as the Golden Everlasting, Paper Daisy, Immortelle or Xerochrysum is a fast-growing Australian native and is a part of the Asteraceae family. Strawflowers are between two and three feet tall. The colorful petals of this plant aren’t even petals at all, but modified leaves called bracts. In fact, they are dry, dead tissue. The true flowers are the tiny florets that make up a dense, center disc, that may match or contrast with the bracts.

Strawflowers are fast growing, sun loving, drought tolerant and low maintenance plants. They are suitable for garden beds, rockeries, containers and they will look great in hanging baskets. Strawflowers are wonderful for using as a cut flower, and are perfect for drying where they retain their colour and shape for a very long time. The flowers attract butterflies, moths and many other beneficial insects into the garden.

It is available in both annual and perennial varieties, and there are lots of cultivars to choose from. Perennials have a plant hardiness zone range of 8 to 11, but the plant is most often grown as an annual.

How to Grow Strawflower From Seeds

Directly sow the seeds in mid-April, but only in regions with long summers. Otherwise, sow indoors 6–8 weeks before the last frost. 

Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-21°C (65-70°F).

Seeds should sprout in 5-20 days.

It is possible to sow seeds directly into the planting bed:

Prepare your garden soil as above, or fill containers with potting medium.

Moisten the soil to a depth of about three inches, let the water soak in, and repeat.

Once the water has soaked in, sprinkle seeds over the moist soil. Do not cover them.

Proceed as above, thinning after true leaves appear, and allowing 10 to 12 inches between plants.

Keep the soil moist, but not soggy, while plants mature.

Care and Maintenance

This heat-loving, drought-tolerant plant is valued for its charming, straw-like blooms in bright shades of red, orange, pink, purple, yellow, and white.


Strawflowers thrive in full sun, although they can tolerate part shade also. But in the latter case, they won’t bloom quite as much. Growing strawflowers in full sun will help prevent weak stems that flop.


Sandy and rocky soils are preferred over rich and heavy soils, but any soil is fine as long as excellent drainage is present. Add mulch to retain soil moisture and even the soil temperatures. When planting in the garden, dig up the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches and blend in 3 inches of compost.


Strawflowers require very little care. Water the plants only when the soil feels slightly dry. Avoid wet, soggy soil, as strawflowers are prone to rot in wet conditions. If possible, water with a hose or drip system to keep the foliage dry.

Temperature and Humidity

Strawflowers do best in temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees at night. Strawflowers are not frost-tolerant, so they grow best in warm weather, and they prefer low humidity.


Although not heavy feeders, a monthly application of balanced flower organic fertilizer will keep your strawflowers blooming steadily. Strawflowers grown in containers need more fertilizing than those planted in the garden.


Strawflowers don’t need to be pruned regularly. However, deadheading the plant will keep the flowers blossoming.

Best Uses

Cutting and Drying

To cut strawflower for fresh arrangements, choose sturdy stems with blossoms that have begun to open, but have not yet revealed their centers. Use sanitized scissors or pruners to make a clean cut at a 45-degree angle across each stem just above its base. Use in vases or soaked floral foam as desired.

To harvest strawflower for dry arranging, cut stems in the same manner and bunch them together. Suspend the flowers upside-down in a dry location until the stems dry out. Use as desired for everlasting arrangements and craft projects.

Strawflower oil is used in aromatherapy for its medicinal properties. The oil is also good for the scalp as it removes dandruff and stops hair loss.

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