(Straw)Flowers on Friday

Last year, I experimented with one type type of strawflower – ‘Silvery Rose.’ It was easy to start from seed, transplanted easily, produced loads of flowers that were, well, silvery rose in colour, and grew to a height of about four feet. The flowers were wonderful while fresh, with papery petals that did indeed feel like straw, and dried well – although some experimentation was necessary on that front. I discovered it’s best to pick flowers for drying well before they were fully open otherwise you run the risk of the flower continuing to develop, even while hanging upside down in a dark spot, and going to seed…

I saved seed from last year’s patch and ordered two additional varieties – a dwarf cultivar provided by Renee’s Garden called simply ‘Rainbow Bouquet Dwarf’ and the tall ‘Sultane’ cultivar, also multi-coloured, from West Coast Seeds. Started indoors on April 3, they’ve been blooming for a few weeks now.

Collage of four different Strawflowers - orange, rose, yellow and red.  Small bees are collecting nectar (or pollen) on the yellow and red one.

As you can see, even though the flower petals (actually they are bracts) may be papery and appear unwelcoming, they produce nectar at their base that’s very attractive to a wide range of bees even before the flower is entirely open for pollinating. One interesting note about strawflowers: like many plants, its botanical name has changed over the years, and you may find it listed as either Xerochrysum bracteatum, its current, ‘correct’ name, or Helichrysum bracteatus, its older name. Native to Australia, strawflowers are one of those fabulous annuals that will bloom until a hard frost here in Canada.

10 Comments

  1. I’d love to try these, since I have such wonderful memories of them from childhood, but I saw that mention of humidity up above. If they don’t like humidity, they certainly wouldn’t enjoy the Texas coast!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re likely worth a try. Our mid summer temps, including humidity, are often around 90 to 100, with no mildew or disease at all. Or bug damage. They do prefer dry soil conditions to wet. The only mention of humidity I see on line is not to crowd them…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I remember the ‘Silvery Rose’. I do not remember many pastel colors or blushed white colors like that from years ago. Some were pink, and some might have been light pink, but that was about all. They were generally bright colors with a few white, and the white was not all that great.

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