Xeranthemum: common immortelle
Height 60cm (2ft)
Planting distance 45cm (18in)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Light well-drained garden
Common immortelle (Xeranthemum annuum) is an attractive daisy-like annual, grown for its everlasting– the petals keep their colour for a long time after drying, making the flowers excellent for winter decoration. Coming in a range of pinks, lilacs, purples and white, the dainty single or double blooms appear between mid summer and early autumn, 60cm (2ft) above ground on wiry stems. They are accompanied by small narrow silver leaves. ‘Double Mixed’, the variety usually sold, has white, purple, lilac and rose flowers.
Sow the seeds in the flowering position in early spring — any well-drained, even poor soil is ideal. The site must be sunny. Thin to 45cm (18in) apart.
For indoor decoration, cut the flowers before they are fully open. Tie them in bunches and hang upside down in a cool dry place.
Pests and diseases