Everlasting Daisies

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To show the ornamental potential of many of our native everlasting or paper daisies, the gardeners at Kings Park have created a meadow-style planting using native daisies from Western Australia.

Australia has many daisy species (such as Brachyscome sp., Rhodanthe sp. and many others) in flower colours white to pink, deep red, yellow, orange, blue and mauve.

Some species of paper or everlasting daisies which can be used in meadow plantings include:

  • Bracteantha bracteata (formerly Helichrysum bracteatum) – colour range includes yellow, orange, pink and white. Good as a cut flower. A new cultivar is ‘Bright Bikinis’. Height: 50cm.
  • Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp. rosea (the rosy everlasting, formerly Helipterum roseum) – deep pink flowers with a yellow or black centre. Height: 50cm.
  • Rhodanthe manglesii (Mangle’s everlasting or silver bells, formerly Helipterum manglesii) – pink or white nodding bell-like flowers. The species was collected in Western Australia last century and introduced into cultivation by Captain James Mangles. Height: 50cm.
  • Schoenia filifolia ssp. subulifolia (showy everlasting, formerly Helichrysum subulifolium) – vivid yellow paper daisies. Native to Western Australia. Good in massed display or as a cut flower. Height: 50cm.

Growing from seed

To create your own meadow effect using native daisies sow seed in autumn for spring flowering. (Note: In warm, humid areas such as Brisbane plants may flower from late winter.)

Select a sunny position (full sun is important for success). Before sowing, prepare the soil well by removing all weeds and by forking lightly over ground. Water the soil so it is moist before planting.

A sandy soil is best for paper daisies. In clay areas improve drainage by working in compost, sand and gypsum (or Claybreaker) or create a raised bed filled with a free-draining mix of compost (or organic garden mix) and sand.

To broadcast the seeds evenly, mix the seeds with sand or a coarse potting mix and some slow-release fertiliser for natives (refer to directions on the container for appropriate amounts). Use about a bucket of potting mix for a handful of seeds (10g). Mix well then scatter over your prepared area.

Don’t water until the seeds have begun to germinate (about one week).

Care

Once the young plants are established the meadow is only watered every two weeks. Liquid feeding is done every three weeks once plants reach 10-15cm (4-6″).

As most of the species grow naturally in well-drained sandy or gravelly soils, good drainage is vital for success in the garden. Snails can be a problem with these plants and will need to be controlled.

Where to see daisies

Everlasting daisies are a feature of the wildflower displays in Western Australia from winter to early spring. The number of flowers depends on the rain received earlier in the year.

  • Kings Park Botanic Gardens, where there is a display of everlasting daisies that are at their peak at the beginning of spring. Phone: (08) 9480 3600.
  • At Mt Annan Botanic Garden in south west Sydney a similar display of everlasting daisies can be seen through September.

Availability

Paper daisy seeds are available at nurseries or from some botanic gardens such as Kings Park in Perth and Mt Annan near Sydney:

Kings Park Botanic Garden is at Fraser Avenue, West Perth, WA, 6005. It hosts the Kings Park Wildflower Festival which this year will run from 20-29 September, 1997. Phone: (08) 9480 3600.

Mt Annan Botanic Garden, Mount Annan Drive, Narellan, NSW, 2567. Phone: (02) 4648 2477. Seed packets are for sale from the visitor centre in the garden.

1. Seeds: Paper daisy seeds of various sorts are also distributed by the following companies or maybe available via mail-order. Contact them to find your nearest distributor. WA Wildflower Seed Company Pty Ltd, PO Box 804, Canning Bridge, WA, 6153. Phone: (08) 9313 3090. Fax: (08) 9313 3091. (Wholesale seed supplier but also deals with mail-order.)

Yates, PO Box 72, Revesby, NSW, 2212. Phone: (02) 9771 2911. Yates seeds are stocked by most major nurseries.

Mt Annan Botanic Garden, Mount Annan Drive, Narellan, NSW, 2567. Phone: (02) 4648 2477. Seed packets are for sale from the visitor centre in the garden.

2. Potted plants: Paper daisies are also available as potted plants in flower at the nursery. Look for the range of paper daisies from PGA called ‘Paper Baby’, ‘Paper Cascade’ and ‘Paper Star’. All are forms of the genus Rhodanthe (formerly Helipterum). These paper daisies are available at most nurseries from around $7. To find your nearest stockist, contact PGA. Phone: (03) 9722 1444.