Using Strawflowers in Potpourri
Strawflowers (proper name – Xerochrysum bracteatum) make a colorful potpourri ingredient.
The color and texture of potpourri is often provided by botanicals known as “everlastings.” An everlasting is any plant with flowers that keep their color and shape when dried. Strawflowers are an example of an everlasting.
While most flower farmers grow everlastings to sell the flowers on the stem, strawflower heads, when dried and detached from the stem, make a lovely ingredient for potpourri. The “bracts” (they are not actually petals) retain their pretty shape, beautiful colors and their texture, which is stiff and paper thin.
Strawflowers are an annual plant that can be easily grown from seed. They provide a large amount of flowers in the summer and fall. With a few plants you will have plenty of flowers for potpourri. If you wish to make your own potpourri, you should set aside some space for strawflowers in your garden.
To harvest strawflowers for potpourri, snip the stem just below one flower. Very close to the topmost flower there will be other buds yet unopened. You should let those buds open before you take them. In due course, you will then harvest all of the flowers on a stem.
Strawflowers look best when only the outermost layer of bracts have opened at the time that you cut them from the stem.
After taking a strawflower, it will open up during the drying process. If you have cut them from the stem when more than the outermost bracts have opened, they will not look pretty when dried.
If instead you “deadhead” on a day in the late morning when only the outermost layer of bracts have opened, the process of drying the flower will naturally open only one more layer of bracts. The strawflowers in that state, i.e. only barely opened, will be perfect for potpourri.
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