The annual licorice vine plant (Helichrysum petiolatum) has a trailing vinelike growth habit that makes it ideal for flower baskets, a flower garden or as a ground cover. Each plant produces stems that spread about 2 feet. The foliage is a silvery-green that looks slightly furry and gives the visual impression of glowing in low light. A few cultivars offer variegated and gold foliage. The plant is native to South Africa
The licorice plant is considered a very tender annual that will not tolerate frost. In tropical areas, the plant can be grown successfully as a perennial. Planting should take place when the danger of all freezing or frost in the region has passed. Choose a location that offers full sun to dappled, partial shade for the plant to thrive. In areas that suffer from severe triple digit heat during the summer, the planting location should be in partial shade.
Well-draining, moist soil offers the ideal environment for the licorice plant. A high humus content can also aid in the plant's growth. Adding peat moss at a ratio of 50 percent peat moss to 50 percent garden soil can offer the perfect mixture for planting. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the plant to keep the roots cool, help moisture retention and keep weed growth at bay.
The licorice plant can occasionally produce yellow and white flowers. Prompt removal of the flowers will help promote the plant's foliage growth instead of focusing the plant's energy on flower production. A few cultivars of the licorice plant exude a licorice candy smell to their foliage, but others have no scent.
In areas of the country that suffer from high humidity during the summer months, the licorice plant can contract root rot. If the plant suffers from root rot it will begin to wilt and suffer foliage die-back. Fungicide drenches will not save a licorice plant suffering from the condition. Removal and disposal of the plant is required, and future licorice plants should not be planted in the same location.
Propagation is achieved from cuttings in the fall. The plant should be rooted indoors. Once established, the new starter plants can be transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed.