The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Helichrysum

Question: I do not actually know much about Helichrysum and would appreciate knowing more about it. At the moment it has overtaken a spot in my garden and I would like to thin out/cut back/divide? I just can't tell by looking at this plant what I should do. What can you tell me about it?

Answer: Helichrysum is commonly called Licorice plant or Strawflower. It's a genus of mainly upright, branching annuals and perennials grown for their papery, everlasting flowers. Plants are 1'-4' tall and flowers are bright white, orange, yellow or red, sometimes bicolored. Plant in a sunny site in average, sandy soils. Water sparingly. To produce very large flowers, remove all but 1 bud from each flower stem. To preserve flowers, cut stems before flowers are fully open and hang upside-down to dry in a shady place. Be sure to remove leaves. You can keep your plants looking neat by cutting back the flowering stems, whether or not you plan to keep the flowers for dried arrangements. You can take cuttings in the summer (to propagate), or divide in the early spring or fall (after flowering has stopped). Helichrysum self-sows readily. Dig and transplant the seedlings in the spring, spacing small species 8"-10" apart and tall species 15"-18" apart.

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