How to Grow Helichrysum
Helichrysum is a native plant of Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. Common names include curry plant, starflower, licorice plant, dwarf everlast and immortelle. In the United States, helichrysum can be grown as a half-hardy annual in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 2 to 10, or cultivated to grow as a perennial in zones 5 to 10 where the weather is warmer. Colors range from yellow to white, red to orange and pink. Helichrysum is a popular choice for use in dried floral arrangements.
Purchase helichrysum seeds or seedlings. Start seeds indoors, if you prefer, or sow seeds directly into the soil a few days before the last frost date in your area. Space seeds 18 inches apart to allow ample room for helichrysum to grow tall and bushy. Schedule starting seeds indoors so they will germinate three weeks after the last frost date.
Find a garden site that will receive full sun. Choose a garden spot where helichrysum can grow as a border plant or to add height to a flower bed. Check the soil to achieve an optimum pH range of 5.5 to 6.3. Till the soil to make sure it will drain freely and aerate properly.
Space seeds or seedlings outdoors six inches apart for a compact bush or 12 inches apart for a more billowy bush. Top the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite so the soil will maintain moisture and allow light to penetrate the seeds. Allow up to 21 days for the seeds to germinate. Transplant indoor-grown seedlings into the garden three weeks after the last frost.
Test soil for dryness and water once or twice each week after plants are established. Helichrysum prefers dry conditions. Pinch flowers starting three weeks after propagation to encourage the plant to branch. Encourage flowers to grow large and wide by pinching all but one bud to direct the plant’s energy to the solitary flower.
Cut flowers right before their full bloom to create dried floral arrangements. Gather flowers together and tie with twine. Hang upside down in a cool and dark location with good ventilation. Use dried flowers in vases, bouquets and craft projects.