About Pearly Everlasting: In her book Wildflowers of the Pacific Coast, biologist Leslie Haskin describes Pearly Everlasting: "Each individual blossom is a delicate study in soft, pearly shades. The centre is yellow when in bloom, becoming brown with age, and the regular arrangement of the imbricates, parchment-like scales, which, shingle-like, surround each tiny bloom, is very interesting. The whole effect of the arrangement is like that of a half-opened white water-lily." Many Native American tribes used this native wildflower for a wide range of medicinal purposes. Most commonly, its flowers were used as a poultice for soreness, swelling, or burns. When dried, it also made tea or a tobacco substitute. Though not used medicinally today, this plant is often grown especially for its long lasting dried flowers. Often used in traditional dried flower arrangements, pearly everlasting keeps its texture and whiteness for years when dried.
Pearly Everlasting Germination: The easiest way to grow this plant is to direct sow in the fall, sowing the tiny seed as thinly as possible on the surface of the soil. It may be necessary to thin the seedlings to 18-24" apart or transplant some of the seedlings to allow room for growth. To start the seed indoors, sow the seed on the surface of the soil; it usually germinates in 4-6 weeks at 60-65 degrees F. When the seedlings grow tall enough to handle safely and there is no chance of frost, plant them 18-24" apart in full sun and rich, well drained soil. This plant also adapts to moist soil with adequate drainage.
Growing Pearly Everlasting Seeds: Though this plant tolerates drought, it should be watered for best growth and appearance. Do not over water, since soil with excessive moisture may cause disease. Since this plant reseeds itself readily, deadhead the faded flowers if volunteer plants are not wanted. After several years' growth, pearly everlasting can be divided for new plantings.This plant is deer and rabbit resistant, as well as attracting bees and butterflies; the caterpillars of the American Lady butterfly use pearly everlasting as a host plant.
Harvesting Pearly Everlasting: Pearly Everlasting is renowned for its excellent dried flowers. To dry them, cut the stems before the blossoms fully open; hang them upside down in a dark place until dry. This plant can also be used for fresh cut flowers.
Saving Pearly Everlasting Seeds: Both male and female plants must be present for the plant to produce viable seed. When the centers of the flowers turn dark brown, the seeds are mature. Remove the heads and spread them out to dry away from direct sunlight. Thresh the heads to separate the seed material from the papery husk. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Pearly Everlasting Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Western Pearly-Everlasting Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 222,000 Produces blade-like, downy pale green or white leaves and 1/4" papery white flowers with yellow centers.