(Bracteantha bracteate or Xerochrysum bracteatum or Helichrysum bracteatum)
Strawflowers belong to “everlasting” flower category, which makes her a must-have in every handcrafter’s garden. Everlastings are plants have petals of a papery texture and retains their shape and colors long after all other flowers hit the compost pile. In other words, they are almost "born" a dried flower.
Everlastings such as strawflowers enjoy two lives. First, as a cut flower in an arrangement or bouquet. Their second life is lived as an everlasting in dried floral arrangements, wreaths, or other crafts. It's a smart crafter that keeps everlastings (dried flowers) on hand for creating decorations or gifts.
Type: Annual -- reseeds readily. (May be grown as a short-lived perennial in the mildest climates.)
Height: 36"- 40"
Sun: Full sun.
Water: Regular light water or when soil is dry. Overwatering is a big no-no.
Food: Strawflowers aren't hungry plants and fertilizing isn't neccesary. However, a balanced, organic fertilizer once a month will bring robust plants.
Environment: Hot and dry environments with good drainage are ideal. Avoid soggy soil & wet feet.
Days to Harvest: 75-85
Strawflowers From Seed
Sow strawflowers seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Plant them in a seed starting mix by pressing the seeds onto the surface of the mix. Don’t cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. Keep the soil moist until the seedings show up. Harden off seedlings and then transplant them into the garden bed after the last frost date. If you want to plant seeds directly into the garden bed, be sure that you do so after the last frost date in your area.
Encourage more blooms and bushier plants by pinching off the tips of the first growing stems. After that, harvest mature stems regularly (or deadhead) to promote more flowers.
Harvest strawflowers when the blooms are about halfway open, as they will continue opening after they’ve been cut. Remove the leaves and bunch bottom of stems together and secure with a rubber band. Then hang them upside down in a shaded, well-ventilated area for several weeks to dry.
For dried flowers arrangements or wreaths, you'll want to replace the stems with floral wire. To wire the fresh cut strawflowers, first cut the stem from the flower. Using 22 gage floral wire, cut a long piece off (stem length) and bend one end of it back, creating a small “u.” Go to the other end of the wire and stick it through the top of the strawflower head. Pull it through the head until the “u” is secured and buried into the flower. Once you’ve wired as many as you need, hand them upside down to dry completely.