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Summer Flowers: Strawflower

Another great summer flower for drying, strawflower is also brilliant in fresh arrangements. I love using this flower in dried arrangemets because it holds its color and is a unique shape.


A handful of pink, red, and white strawflower

Our Story


I started growing strawflower three seasons ago. It quickly became a staple, especially for drying. I found it easy to start from seed and easy to grow. The payoff came when I could use this flower so easily in multiple applications. From fresh bouquets to dried flower wreaths and jewelry, this flower quickly became essential.


A bouquet of yellow, purple, and pink flowers, including strawflower

Care & Maintenance


Strawflower is an annual that needs to be planted in full sun. It can tolerate many different well-draining soil types. I find that compost as a mulch helps against weeds and also helps feed the plant. Start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost or direct seed once soil temperatures have reached 65-70 degrees. Make sure to start with fresh strawflower seed each year. The seed needs light to germinate, so press it into the surface of the soil and do not cover it. When you plant out seedlings or seed into your flower bed, space seedlings/seeds 10-12" apart. Strawflowers can be pinched. I pinch half my plants and leave the other half unpinched to get earlier flowers.


One pink gomphrena; one pink strawflower, with a few layers of petals open; one pink gomphrena with all its petals open and a yellow center

Harvesting


Harvest flowers on a bright day in the early morning or the cool of the evening. Harvest with clean snips into a clean bucket filled with clean water. Harvest the flower when 2-3 layers of petals (bracts) have folded back. You should not see any pollen yet.


Harvest on a bright day because the petals fold back up on overcast days. A flower may look like it is at the perfect stage for harvesting when it is, in fact, past its prime and should be discarded. In that vein, make sure to deadhead to help the plant continue to produce flowers.


The harvested flower will continue to open as it dries. It is important to harvest at the right stage so that the flower dries well and does not break or overmature once dried. As you can see from the photos, however, I have harvested and dried strawflower at many different stages. It still looks beautiful and holds up well.


A wreath of eucalyptus leaves, strawflower, and cress

Other things to consider


There is a range of diseases that can take down your strawflower. That is why plant spacing is so important. It helps ensure adequate air movement between plants. On a positive note, strawflower is deer resistant and comes in a range of beautiful colors. I like to try new colors each season. Have you grown strawflower before?


This post is part of a year-long series on flowers and plants that we love and grow on the farm. Check out other flowers that we love.


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