Straw flowers or helichrysum, as the decorative and species-rich plants are also called, are frugal and easy to care for. And with the right measures, they can continue to bring joy long after flowering.

location and substrate

Everlasting flowers are available in many different types. Different flower colors, sizes and growth forms, annual, perennial or hardy – here you will find the right one for every taste.

In general, straw flowers prefer a very sunny and warm location, so they are not suitable as underplanting. They even tolerate blazing midday sun. However, there are some exceptions that require at least walking shade. The best-known and most popular exception is the liquorice helichrysum, which not only needs shade but also coolness.

Whether annual or perennial, Helichrysum draw copious amounts of nutrients. Accordingly, the soil should be prepared well. Compost or fertilizer for flowering plants, a nutrient-rich addition before sowing or planting out is ideal. In addition, the substrate must be well drained and dry. If the soil tends to be waterlogged, adding sand can help.

sowing and pre-growing

Everlasting flowers can be sown directly into the desired bed, spread out in a cold frame or grown indoors.

Those who prefer them indoors can enjoy flowering a little earlier. March or early April are ideal times for this. The location should have a temperature between 15 °C and 18 °C and be sunny. Plants will germinate in about two weeks if kept moderately moist.

After the ice saints, the young straw flowers can be planted at the desired location in the garden. Until then, the weakest germs must be removed from time to time. In this way they are not too close together and receive sufficient nutrients and moisture. If you want to do this work regularly and a little longer, or if you prefer a culture in the bucket anyway, you can sow the straw flowers earlier in the house.
From mid-April, the helichrysum can be sown directly into a cold frame. Here, too, the weakest young plants should be removed at greater intervals. A transfer to the final location then takes place again after the ice saints.

As soon as the ice saints and thus the last frosts are over, the helichrysum can be sown directly into the bed.

With all options, the following points must be observed:

  • Sow seeds thinly
  • Cover only very lightly with substrate
  • Keep moderately moist during germination, avoid waterlogging and drying out
  • Prepare soil with compost or fertilizer
  • Prick young plants


When it comes to care, straw flowers are undemanding. Watering and fertilizing – more is basically not necessary. However, these measures depend on the implementation.


As described above, the Helichrysum needs warmth and dryness. However, she cannot do without liquid. This results in four special features when giving water.

  • Never water straw flowers with cold water
  • Water should be done in the morning or evening but not in the sun
  • The substrate must not dry out completely, a layer of bark mulch can prevent this
  • It’s better to water often than a lot

Since it should only be watered as needed, the amount of water must be adjusted accordingly. The warmer and sunnier the location, the more frequently it needs to be watered. In any case, you should refrain from watering. It is better to give small amounts of water, which are done more frequently.


How and when you should fertilize depends on the design of the straw flower. If it is an annual, preparation of the soil before sowing is usually sufficient. The flowering lasts for a very long time, but can be fertilized again in August. Liquid fertilizer for flowering plants or compost are suitable.
Perennial Helichrysum species can be fertilized two to three times a year. The dates should be every three months and not too late. For example, February, May and August are ideal.
Again, compost and liquid fertilizer are the methods of choice here.


The care of the helichrysum includes only a small pruning. Basically, only dried, withered or infested parts of the plant have to be removed.

Neither shaping nor pruning before winter is necessary. If trimming or pruning is required, however, these are well tolerated.

Tip: A radical cut should not be done before winter. Although some straw flowers tolerate this measure, they are more powerful if the pruning is done in spring before the first budding.


The straw flowers are propagated by seeds, which can be obtained quite easily and over a long period of time. After all, Helichrysum blooms almost all summer long.

In order to obtain the seeds needed for sowing, some flowers must remain on the plant until they wither. About a week after flowering, the fruiting bodies open and release the seeds. These should be kept dry and cool but not cold. Then they keep for at least two years.


Strawflowers are as varied and rich in varieties as they are over the winter. Numerous species are considered annuals, but are simply not frost hardy. If these are overwintered frost-free, they can bloom again and again.

There are two different variants of the perennial varieties. Some varieties are frost hardy and can therefore remain directly in the bed. Here, however, separate protection against temperatures that are too low is advisable. It is ideal to cover the plant with garden fleece and to pile up brushwood.

The second form is perennial, but does not survive cold winters. Therefore, these must be protected in the house.

You need a cool and bright room, such as an unheated conservatory, a bright stairwell or a well-insulated garage.
During the dormant period in winter, the plants should never dry out completely. Occasional watering, once the top layer of soil has dried, should continue throughout the winter. The warmer the winter location, the more frequently watering must be done.

However, fertilizer should be avoided entirely. Nutrients would only interrupt the hibernation and can cause considerable damage to the plant.

Culture in the bucket

The straw flower can also be grown in a bucket without any problems. In the case of perennial but not frost-hardy Helichrysum species, this planting makes the effort considerably easier.

The straw flowers in the tub can then stand quietly on the south-facing balcony, where not many other plants thrive in the blazing sun. In winter they are to be spent indoors.

However, it should be noted with the bucket that the frequency of watering increases and increased fertilization may also be necessary. The smaller the container, the greater the maintenance effort.

Cutting, drying and preserving

The helichrysum blooms almost all summer long and can still be an eye-catcher in winter when dried. But you have to do it right.
For arrangements, bouquets and other handicraft purposes, the stems should be left as long as possible. They can still be shortened for the respective purpose. In addition, the length is already decisive when drying. A clean cut is also important so that the interface does not become infected. Therefore, only cleaned scissors or knives should be used.

The timing of the separation is also important. Too early and the flower looks half-finished, too late and it is also not very decorative. It is favorable to wait for the half-blossom. The first petals should just have opened.

After separation, the individual stalks are hung upside down. They need an airy but shady place to dry. Sunlight causes the plants to fade unattractively or turn blotchy. They also become porous and subsequently brittle.

The flowers are also hung up individually for individual use. For bouquets they are tied directly together. If you want to stabilize the stems, you can wrap them with wire when they are fresh.

But beware. Due to their already low water content, helichrysum does not tend to develop rot and mold. If you hang or tie the individual flowers too tightly, there is insufficient ventilation or the drying area is even damp – but this can still lead to the spread of fungal infections. It is therefore advisable to dry in layers, especially with larger and denser containers. New fresh straw flowers are always tied around an existing, already dry bouquet.

The drying is more continuous.

If the blossoms are later to be attached to pictures, the fresh parts must be pressed. This can be done between newspaper or kitchen paper, which is weighed down with books. Screw clamps are a suitable alternative. Sufficient ventilation must also be ensured here.

If the Helichrysum are simply dried, they can last for a few years. However, it is then difficult to clean them. Shaking out not only removes the dust, but often leaves as well. The same danger threatens when dodging or brushing. A better option is to preserve the consistently dried helichrysum with clear spray paint. To remove layers of dust, it is then sufficient to treat the flowers with a hair dryer set to low intensity. The lacquer ensures the necessary stability.

Typical diseases and pests

Strawflowers are inherently quite resistant to diseases and pests. If you lose the leaves or wilt, a mistake in care is usually hidden behind the supposed diseases.

Therefore, at the first signs, the following factors should be checked:

  • The soil must be neither too wet, too heavy nor too dry
  • The temperature of the irrigation water, if it is too cold, will damage the roots
  • Location, lack of sun or warmth, the straw flowers take it badly
  • Fertilization, if there is a lack of nutrients in the soil, the plants will only grow weakly and with delay

If all factors and measures are correct, the plants should be checked for signs of damage, discoloration and deposits.

On the pest side, aphids and leaf miners are rarely found, and even these have just strayed. Normally, treatment is therefore not necessary. If it is necessary, natural enemies of the pests should be used.

The wilt disease and downy mildew appear quite frequently. Normally these do not need to be treated. Affected leaves fall off, otherwise healthy plants usually recover on their own. You can help by cutting off affected parts. If there is no improvement in sight for a long time, a fungicide can be used to combat the wilt disease. A plant protection product that is designed for fungal infections also helps against downy mildew.

Are immortelle poisonous?

Everlasting flowers are not only beautiful to look at, they are also safe for animals and humans. Therefore, there is no need to fence them in or plant them out of the reach of playing pets and curious children.
However, the situation is different with the dried variants. If these have been painted or dyed, they can become a hazard. Dyes and paints often contain toxic substances. In the case of these, it is therefore urgently necessary to avoid putting them in the mouth, licking them off or nibbling them.

Helichrysums are low-maintenance plants that bloom for many months and serve as dried flowers for years. Harmless to humans and animals and available in numerous colors and shapes, the Helichrysum is a great eye-catcher for sunny spots in the garden or pot.

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