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HELICHRYSUM petiolare

Image of Helichrysum petiolare

James H. Schutte

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

HELICHRYSUM petiolare

Plant Common Name

Licorice Plant

General Description

This is a super silver-hued foliage plant used for edging, bedding and containers. Licorice plant provides a cool backdrop for pastels and contrasts well with jewel toned blooms and foliage. It is also drought tolerant and easy to grow.

This tender perennial is native to southern Africa where it survives as a tough, compact shrub. Its small, soft, silvery leaves are fragrant when crushed and either oval or heart-shaped. Fine silver hairs cover their surface giving them a woolly texture. The trailing stems are branched and form spreading mounds. Where hardy, plants also bear clusters of small, creamy white flowers that appear on tall stems above the foliage. They bloom from spring to summer and persist through the winter in most locations. The flowers are papery and everlasting if dried in their prime.

Licorice plant is grown as a perennial where hardy and an annual bedding plant where tender. It prefers full sun, tolerates partial shade, and is not too picky about soil as long as it has good drainage. Once established, it is drought and heat tolerant. Shear or pinch plants back in spring to control size and shape. Use licorice plant in beds, as edging, in containers, or rock gardens. Plant a few where children garden and play. Little fingers love to touch the fuzzy leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    16, 17, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    2'-6' / 0.6m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Silver, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Silver, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Silver, Gray

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Silver, Gray

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Foundation, Groundcover, Hanging Basket, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes