The Q&A Archives: Keeping Daisys

Question: I need all the information I can get on the Outback Paper Daisy or Bracteantha Bracteata. I would like to know if I can keep it for the next year or how to start from seed.

Thank you

Answer: Bracteantha bracteata is a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae (aster/daisy family). It is commonly called strawflower, everlasting daisy, or golden everlasting. You can start it from seed, and here is everything I know about it:

Strawflower is an upright, warm-weather annual or short lived perennial with daisy-like flowerheads in yellow, pink, bronze, cream, purple or white. Strawflower has thin, lance shaped, grayish green leaves up to 5 in. long, and sandpapery, hollow, branching stems that may reach 3-4 ft in height. From late spring until fall, strawflower bears flowerheads about 2 in across singly or in few-flowered clusters on the ends of the branches. What look like ray flowers or petals are actually bracts (modified leaves) surrounding the central corolla. The bracts are papery with a straw-like, crackly texture, hence the common name. The corolla is like the disc of more typical daisies, composed of many tiny florets. There are no ray florets at all.

Strawflower does best in areas with long, hot summers. The taller cultivars may require staking. Strawflower needs full sunshine and moist, but very well drained soil. Water when soil becomes dry.

The perennial strawflowers can tolerate light to moderate frosts. Most of the available cultivars, however, are annuals and replanted from seed each spring. Even the perennial forms usually live only 2 or 3 years.

Strawflower is propagated by seed. In warm winter zones, sow in place after the last frost in spring. In cooler Zones, such as yours, start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost, and set out carefully when soils reach about 55?F. Do not cover the seeds, as they need light to germinate. The perennial cultivars also can be started from tip cuttings taken in spring or summer.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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