The pearl anemone displays a multitude of small white flowers, more or less tall depending on the species – if that’s about what springs to mind for you, you’re grossly underestimating the Anaphalis. They also show their flowers for an exceptionally long time (at least the original natural varieties), which retain their beauty even longer in the vase and much longer in dried bouquets. You can use the leaves of the Anaphalis as a cold tea or as a skin poultice. In addition, Anaphalis hardly make any demands on the soil or location, the two best-known varieties are certainly frost hardy, and they really don’t need any care. It is really worth getting to know the Anaphalis better.

The beaded basket, relatives and species

The pearly bean belongs to the order of the aster-like family and within this to the daisy family, a large plant family whose almost 25,000 species can be found on all continents and in all climatic zones worldwide. Asteraceae are one of the most species-rich plant families in Europe. The subfamily of the Asteroideae, which also includes the pearl bead, is the largest subfamily with almost 65% of these species (approx. 20 tribes, around 1,150 genera and around 16,000 species), and is also distributed worldwide.

The pearl-cup tribe, the Gnaphalieae, also contains around 185 currently known genera with anywhere from 1,250 to well over 2,000 species, in both the Old World and the New World.

From this tribe, not only does the genus Anaphalis represent plants that are popular with us:

  • Australian paper buttonlets (Ammobium alatum) colonize European balconies
  • Cat’s Paws (Antennaria) from America adorn our rock gardens with their expressive flowers
  • Felt herbs (filago) and Ruhr herbs (gnaphalium) are spreading across our fields and are said to have all sorts of healing effects
  • Strawflowers (Helichrysum) decorate almost the whole world in about 600 species, even in the cold season
  • Edelweiss (Leontopodium) are famous anyway and can be seen on coats of arms, coins and stamps
  • Xerochrysum represent with the Xerochrysum bracteatum the garden helichrysum, a common ornamental plant in summer flower beds, as cut flowers and in dried bouquets

Anaphalis margaritacea

It is the most well-known pearl basket. Also known commercially as silver immortelle or large-flowered pearl daisy. These silver immortelle are the only Anaphalis that do not come from Asia. They evolved in North America. There, the “Western pearly everlasting” was already used by the natives as a medicinal plant against headaches, rheumatism and colds and is still popular today as a vase or dried flower (with the other trivial name “Rabbit Tobacco” apparently also with rabbits).

The original Anaphalis margaritacea grow quite tall, 40 to 70 cm, and can show their white flowers from June to November. The cultivar flowers a little larger, but usually shorter. The perennial herbaceous perennial is sold as a young plant, which is frost hardy with us. It retreats into the ground in winter and sprouts completely new from the root ball in spring.

With A. margaritacea you can buy the natural form just described, which is really an enrichment for the garden with the multiple possible uses (see below), but of course can be cultivated in pots, tubs or window boxes just like cultivars.

Only A. margaritacea ‘New Snow’ is known as a cultivar, mostly traded as a large garden pearl paw, a slightly bushier bred variant. However, which only grows to a height of 30 to 50 cm and only flowers in July and August, so the cultivar does not bring any real benefit here compared to the original species (a finding that can be observed more often, since breeding through personal selection has been largely driven by industrial gene mixing for mass breeding and -trade is replaced).

Anaphalis triplinervis

Also known as a three-nerved beaded basket or beaded paw, it belongs to the Anaphalis family of Asian origin. This second species known to us only grows to a height of about 25 – 30 cm, flowers from August to October (higher cultivated cultivars often shorter) and, with its origin from the Himalayas, is exemplarily frost hardy in our country.

The original species of Anaphalis triplinervis is cultivated in good perennial nurseries as Anaphalis triplinervis ‘veg.’ or wild perennial offered, which has the properties just described.

There are also several cultivars that you can encounter on all sorts of trading platforms:

  • A. triplinervis ‘Silberregen’ is an uncomplicated Anaphalis with papery, immortelle-like pearl cups. The clump-like perennial can grow up to 30 cm high and forms rather loose inflorescences with silvery-white flowers.
  • A. triplinervis ‘Summer Snow’ is the garden pearl paw, also growing in clumps and up to 35 cm high, with many white flower heads.

More varieties

But the genus Anaphalis is much larger. Currently, 120 species of Anaphalis have just been discovered. So if you are one of the plant lovers of the digital generation who do their hobby with a view of the world, you can still discover some Anaphalis:

  • Anaphalis adnata is said to grow at the English RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).
  • Anaphalis alpicola is known as ‘Prachtrozenkransje’ or ‘Witte Knoop’ in the Netherlands.
  • Anaphalis bicolor is said to have been sighted in the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh.
  • Anaphalis contorta with narrow, lanceolate, gray leaves and early flowering in June, it should do well.
  • Anaphalis javanica, the Javanese edelweiss, is dried in Indonesia and sold to tourists as souvenirs so eagerly that the wild species is endangered.
  • Anaphalis latialata, long flowering period from June to late autumn, grows up to 60 cm wide and 40 cm high.
  • Anaphalis longifolia is also known as the “edelweiss of Sumatra”.
  • Anaphalis transnokoensis is new to us, only 20 to 30 cm wide and high and flowers from July to September.
  • Anaphalis triplinervis var. intermedia is rarely offered, flowering period June to August, grows rather wide than tall and likes the sun.

And so on, of the around 120 Asian and Indian species, almost all of which are cultivated in their home countries, many can still be discovered here.

Perennial and decorative

The pearl plant (Anaphalis) is extremely attractive in the flower bed, even if the lush flowering months in summer are always over too quickly. Then they are still in the middle of flowering, at least if you have planted an original Anaphalis species.

The medium-tall, frost-hardy perennial adorns the perennial border, but also large open spaces in farm gardens and natural gardens. A little more luxuriant every year – if it is allowed to spread itself via its foothills. The A. margaritacea becomes a small flowering bush landscape and the A. triplinervis a flowering ground cover.

The natural forms of the perennial are valuable permanent bloomers that start the flowering season in June and delight people with their sight for a long time and insects with their nectar for a long time. Towards late autumn, the inflorescences on the plant dry up, but this does little to detract from their beauty. At first glance, they look like fresh flowers. In reality, they dry into a kind of parchment, which makes them shine quite brightly and have a bit of a sheen.

Both varieties also do very well in the rock garden. the small A. triplinervis can also shine on a green roof, both adorn the vase as cut flowers (for a very long time).

At some point in the bed, they become so soaked with water that they look unsightly. Until then, however, the parchment-like blossoms should be vying for your attention in a dry bouquet around the house. The pearl baskets are ideal for dried bouquets. They dry without losing their beauty, expression or stability. The best time to prune the flowers to dry is August when they are in full bloom and simply let them air dry.

The Anaphalis was an ancient Indian medicinal plant. In the North American cottage garden, too, it used to be used as a tea against colds and coughs and as a poultice for all sorts of skin diseases.

As soon as it goes into sensitive or medical areas, a doctor and/or naturopath should definitely be consulted. People who are prone to allergies through excessive use of chemical products or who have already damaged their intestines through excessive consumption of sweet (yeast) rolls in the form of burgers, donuts, muffins and the like often also react sensitively to unknown healthy nature.

plants and care

Anaphalis are perennials that you should buy as ready plants. Growing perennials from seeds/bulbs is often quite complicated. If you buy the young plant before flowering, you will get tall little plants. If you buy them after the flowering period, they are usually pruned plants, or these have already retreated into the ground, or they have just been replanted as bulbs. Calculate 5 to 7 Anaphalis per square meter for planting. With the natural form that closes gaps, fewer are possible.

In its natural form, A. margaritacea does not need full sun, but also thrives in light partial shade, but with a lot of sun it grows more luxuriantly (the cultivar should only thrive with a lot of sun). The soil should be rich in nutrients and may be dry, which means hardly any watering and therefore minimal maintenance. Gladly some water if it is very dry, gladly some organic fertilizer if the perennial is a bit faint.

Anaphalis triplinervis needs a rather sunny location and humus-rich, well-drained soil, preferably sandy or loamy, preferably with a slightly alkaline pH value. These Anaphalis withstand summer dry periods very well and actually do not need any care at all.

plant neighbors

Because the leaves of the Anaphalis appear somewhat greyish-felted, all gray-leaved plants (globe thistles, lavender, sage) go very well with the higher Anaphalis. But mountain asters, irises and ornamental onions also go well with perennial immortelle, and they look really good in front of red roses.

Smaller Anaphalis are well complemented by the similarly long flowering sedum, or candytuft, or by Stachys byzantina, the dog’s ear.

If you like white flowers in the garden, you will probably combine both types of beaded baskets and maybe experiment with other types.

To cut

You can, after flowering, if you like a tidy garden.

But you don’t have to. You can also let the Anaphalis move in as you wish and only cut the remaining stems down to the ground in early spring when the shoots start (beginning of February/March).


Since the natural forms of the Anaphalis form offshoots, they can be multiplied wonderfully. Simply cut off one of the creeping rhizomes and plant in the desired new location.

You can also propagate Anaphalis by division (preferably in the spring, at the beginning of budding), which is just as easy and uncomplicated.

Sowing is possible, but not really recommended, perennial seeds are often a bit bitchy.

The cultivars can usually only be propagated by cuttings (because they are sterile), which do not necessarily grow as well as rhizome pieces.

Anaphalis are super easy to care for, in the wild forms even self-replicating, runner-forming perennials. Which can form a veritable sea of ​​white blossoms, which they display for most of the season. “Lazy” (laid back) gardeners definitely need Anaphalis in their garden, and anyone with a healthy residual thirst for romance probably does too. This is not particularly difficult to achieve, the pearl cups grow without much care, as if by themselves.

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