Helipterum: Swan River Everlasting

Height 30-60cm (12-24in)

Planting distance 15cm (6in)

Flowers mid summer to early autumn

Any sharply drained soil

Sunny site

Hardy annual

These hardy everlastings, often listed in catalogues under their former names, make enchanting contributions to herbaceous borders, rock gardens and bedding schemes. The daisy-like flowers have a straw-like texture which makes them ideal for drying. They are easily grown plants, revelling in poor soil and full sun and tolerating exposure to winds and sea sprays.

Popular species and varieties

Helipterum humboldtianum (syn. H. sandfordii) grows 45cm (18in) tall and has erect flower stems with narrow pointed leaves that are silvery-green and woolly. From mid summer to early autumn the stems are crowned with fragrant clusters of golden-yellow flowers which turn green after drying. Helipterum manglesii (syn. Rhodanthe manglesii), to 38cm (15in), has erect and wiry stems sparsely set with oblong, grey-green leaves and topped with a single red or white, yellow-eyed daisy flower. The flowering season extends from mid summer to early autumn. Varieties include ‘Mixed’, to 30cm (12in) tall, of compact growth and with a mass of carmine, pink, rose or white flowers. Also available as a separate ‘Rose’ colour.

Helipterum roseum (syn. Acroclinium roseum) grows 38cm (15in) tall; it resembles H. manglesii but bears semi-double, rose-coloured nowers in mid and late summer. The ‘Grandiflorum’ varieties are 30-45cm (12-18in) high and have double nowers in pink, red, white, with yellow or black centres. The seed strain is available as a mixture or as single colours of red, rose and white. ‘Splendidum’, up to 60cm (2ft) tall, has large, silky nowers, creamy-white with yellow centres.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds in the flowering site in mid spring. The plants grow best in poor, sharply drained soil in a sunny site. Thin the seedlings to stand 15cm (6in) apart. Avoid transplanting.

Cut the flowers for drying before they are fully open; tie them in bunches and hang them upside down to dry in a cool airy place.

Pests and diseases

Aphids may attack young plants.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Helipterum: Swan River Everlasting

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