Gardening Australia - - YOUR PLANNER -

Flan­nel flow­ers (Actino­tus he­lianthi) are small peren­nial plants na­tive to east­ern Aus­tralia. They have dis­tinc­tive flan­nel-like white daisy flow­ers, and their fluffy sur­faces look like they could be used to dry your hands. Even the leaves are at­trac­tive, and ap­pear to have been in­tri­cately cut from sheets of fine grey felt. Sadly, flan­nel flow­ers have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing tricky to grow, but plants can be found in pots at gar­den cen­tres at this time of year, in­clud­ing ‘Star­bright’, a va­ri­ety that has been raised by the Royal Botanic Gar­den Syd­ney. While they can be short-lived in the ground, flan­nel flow­ers will nor­mally do much bet­ter in a con­tainer. Trans­plant care­fully and re-pot, as they don’t like root dis­tur­bance. Put them in a well-drained pot filled with sandy pot­ting mix. Move the pot into a sunny or lightly shaded po­si­tion. Al­low the mix to dry out be­tween wa­ter­ings and, of course, check to make sure the wa­ter can drain freely (noth­ing kills these plants faster than wet feet). Feed oc­ca­sion­ally with a na­tive plant food. Pick flow­ers for in­doors or move the pot into a show-off spot, even in­side, for a brief pe­riod while the plants are look­ing their best.

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