Everyone who follows me on social media will know I am a big fan of paper daisies.
I love their crinkly stiff paper texture – they are very tactile plants! The way the blooms fold up tightly each night or in rain is rather special to watch.. They also flower abundantly and come in a wide range of colours.
Western Australia’s annual paper daisies are the most well known, but there are also many beautiful perennial varieties that grow and flower beautifully all year round.
Here are some of my favourite perennial varieties and what I have learned growing them.
Xerochrysum bracteantha Dargan Hill Monach
This stunning flowering shrub is a major feature in my garden, taking a prominent place in my raised flowering garden bed in the middle on the garden. Like most natives in my garden it grows taller and larger than it is meant to! Mine is at least a meter tall and wide, even after regular pruning – not the 60cm height or ‘ground cover’ height I have often seen it described as.
It is a short lived perennial, growing well for around 3-4 years in my garden. After that time it gets ugly and woody and branches start to break and die off. But it grows quickly, so is easy to replace again in the same spot.
The best feature of this plant is the long flowering period and large flowers. In my temperate garden it provides almost year round colour. I force it into some rest over winter by removing all the blooms late in autumn. The rest of the year it is covered in flowers, provided you deadhead the old flowers. Dead heading is something I do constantly in my garden – it is my best tip for long flowering displays throughout the year!
Xerochrysum vicosum Sticky Everlasting
Another yellow flowering perennial paper daisy, this small clumping plant grows flowers on tall stems, making them ideal cut flowers too. Long lived, it is a great native paper daisy for planting in naturalistic meadows and for mass planting if you have the room. It is also versatile enough to grow in many climates and soil types, including tolerating heavy frost and drought. The flowers are an intense bright yellow colour, smaller than the Dargan Hill Monach mentioned above, but still spectacular because of their colour.
You can cut this plant back very hard. I have one that I didn’t prune the first year, so it grew from a single stalk that fell over and was laying across the ground. After flowering I cut it back very very hard, into hardwood, with hardly any leaves left. It was brave, but I knew I could buy more if this didn’t work! I needn’t have worried, as it grew back exactly as I had hoped, with multiple new stalks emerging along that horizontal stem and now it looks beautiful! You would have no idea that it is so odd at the base 😉
If you can’t find this plant locally, then Conservation Collective in Victoria will deliver.
Bracteantha Daisy Field Gold
Another short lived perennial shrub, Daisy Fields Gold is readily available in many nurseries, including Bunnings. It has pale lemon flowers with a bright orange centre. Growing to around 60cm high, it will get straggly if you don’t prune the flowers off regularly, so I suggest constantly snipping some to enjoy inside. They last extremely well in a vase and can be dried too.
I have tried cutting these back very hard to old wood, and they do recover and resprout but very slowly so they look ugly for months. A better approach is constant snipping in 20cm or so bunches, taking more off than you would normally when you dead head, or to hard prune just one section of the plant at a time.
I have had some issues with aphids on this plant from time to time, but I recommend you practice patience and wait for the lady beetles to turn up and manage that problem for you. The aphids can set the flowering back a little, but they do recover quickly once the beetle army moves in, or just snip off the affected growing tips and the pruning will reward you with extra blooms in just a few weeks.
Xerochrysum bracteantha Kimberly Peach
A more recent discovery, this gorgeous paper daisy you will not find many references to online. Note the Kimba Peach variety is different – being much more pink than the golden tones of Kimberly. I got mine from Cool Natives Nursery – where you can get a wide variety of frost and drought hardy natives AND you can purchase online for postage to eastern Australia.
This cultivar grows quickly and naturally forms a neat rounded clump with little help – I think I gave it just one light prune when very young. It is hard to sacrifice your first flowers like this, but I do recommend it with all paper daisies so you establish a better habit from the start.