Everlastings – Helipterum

In recent years, dried flowers have become very popular for decoraiting the home, and lowers that are suitable or drying are also good or brightening the garden. Some of the most popular are the Everlastings from South Africa, among them Helipterum.

These plants are closely related, and very similar n appearance, to Helichrysum and may be found jnder the same common lame of Straw Flower. However, the flowers are nuch daintier and usually more subtle in colouring. As a bonus, the flowers are fragrant.

H. manglesii has a lovely simplicity about it. The flowers have a typical Daisy shape with brown or yellow centres and ray petals of white or shades of pink, some of them quite dark. The flowers are about 3cm (1 in) across.

Another popular species is H. roseum. This has much larger flowers, sometimes up to 7.5cm (3in) across. These are mainly available as doubles and come in colours that range from white, through pink, to red. They are often referred to as H. roseum grandiflorum.

The final species is H. splendidum, another large-flowered plant with blooms up to 5cm (2in) across. Each head has a small yellow centre and a wealth of thin papery petals in creamy white. To add to the confusion, Helipterum are still referred to in some catalogues as Acro-linum, Rhodonthe or Roccardio.

There is no need to plant Everlastings as they are usually sown where they are to flower.

Originating from a warm, dry climate, Helipterum are quite happy with dry conditions and rarely need extra water.

These plants will grow in any garden soil, although they are not very happy on heavy ones, as they prefer well-drained conditions. If necessary, they will put up with quite dry and poor soils. The bed should be dug and well-raked into a fine tilth.

Once sown, they need very little attention, other than thinning out if they are overcrowded.

Licorice Plant (Helichrysum petiolare)

Image via Wikipedia

Everlastings are not difficult to dry and retain their colours well. Pick as they open and hang them in bunches, upside- down, in an airy, dry place.

Helipterum are purchased as seed, which is sown in the Spring where they are to flower, either in shallow drills or broadcast over the area.

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