The pearly everlasting plant belongs to the Asteraceae family. The scientific name of this plant is Anaphalis margaritacea, and it is a part of the Anaphalis genus. The plant is a perennial, and another common name for this plant is Western Pearly Everlasting. The USDA symbol for this plant is ‘ANMA.’ These specimens grow as wildflowers in a few areas of the United States. The native areas for this plant are the northern and western part of the United States, Alaska, and Canada.
Table of Contents
- Features of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
- Cultivation of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
- Uses of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
- Types of Pearly Everlasting Plants
Features of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
This plant grows up to a height of approximately 1 to 3 feet and spreads around 1 to 2 feet. The flowers of this plant are white in color and are relatively very small in size. They are yellow at the center and bloom from midsummer to fall, which is the blooming season of this plant. The leaves are medium green or grayish-green in color and are long and narrow. They have a silvery touch to them at the center because of the fine hairs that are on the leaves and the stems.
The plant grows upright in a cushion form or a clump form. The flowers grow above the stems in small clusters. The size of the flowers is approximately 0.25 inches. Pearly everlasting flowers are both male and female and are usually found on different stems. The male flowers have a sleek center with erect yellowish-brown staminate flowers in the yellow center disc. The female flowers are egg-shaped and have a relatively darker center and white petals around the center. This plant also bears fruit that is a tiny brown seed that comes with white hairs that usually blow off with the wind.
Cultivation of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8, and the heat zones for this plant are 1 to 8. It needs full sun to grow ideally, but the partial sun will also do. When planting, a space of preferably 18 to 24 inches should be left between the individual plants to ensure that the plant has enough space to grow and also has room for air circulation. It is a relatively low maintenance plant compared to the rest and requires an average amount of water to grow properly. In addition to that, the plant can grow in chalk, loam or sandy soil that can be acidic, alkaline, or neutral. The soil should be moist but well-drained.
The flowers of this plant can be used as cut flowers and for dried arrangements because they are really showy. The plant is drought tolerant and can tolerate deer and rabbit. It attracts a lot of bees and butterflies. It is recommended that fertilizer should not be used for this plant since fertilizing can cause the plant to spread uncontrollably owing to the fact that this plant is easily able to colonize.
It is best to grow this plant through seeds. Spoiled plants should be removed in order to keep the plant in control. A few diseases that affect the pearly everlasting plant are stem rot, rust, and Septoria leaf spot.
Uses of the Pearly Everlasting Plant
Aside from the fact that the flowers of this plant can be put to many uses like dried flower arrangement and in beds and borders, this plant is also used medicinally to treat bruises, sprains, swellings and even bronchitis in a few cases. However, it is important to note that some varieties of this plant are poisonous to touch or ingest, so using them medicinally should be done with extreme caution.
Types of Pearly Everlasting Plants
There are many varieties of the pearly everlasting plant. Details of a few of them are listed below.
Common Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea var. cinnamomea)
This variety has white-colored wooly stems that eventually turn to a rust color. The leaves of this variety are green in color and have white hairs. The stems are approximately 50 to 100cm long. The leaves are oblong and are around 25mm in length with 3 to 5 veins. This is a perennial variety that grows to a height of 3 feet and is a subshrub with an erect stem. The flowers are pearl white in color and the blooming season of the plants is from July to October, which is basically late summer. The monsoon rainfall acts very beneficially for the growth of this plant in the blooming season.
This plant has a rather fast growth rate and has a mounding growth habit. It can even grow well in disturbed places where there is a lot of foot traffic. Part shade or full sun, both are ideal for the growth of this variety. Adding to that, this plant grows ideally in fertile soil that is well-drained but can also tolerate sandy or clay soils. The pH value of the soil should be between 5.2 and 6.6. This variant of the pearly everlasting plant attracts a lot of insects and butterflies. Taking care of this plant is not a very hard task since it requires a very low amount of water. Moreover, it is a deer-resistant plant that is best propagated by the use of seeds. Despite all of this, the popularity of this plant is not very high, and people seldom choose this variety.
This plant is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. Fertilizer should be used on this variant of the pearly everlasting plant only in spring. Companion plants for this variety are Professor Kippenberg or Alma Potschke.
Japanese Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea var. yedoensis)
This variety belongs to the Asteraceae family and is a rhizomatous perennial. It is native to Japan as the name suggests and is a deciduous plant. The flowers of this variety are white in color in the blooming period which is July. It is hardy in USDA zone 4. It needs full sun to grow but can also do well in part shade depending on the climate and the weather. To grow properly, this plant needs an average amount of water. Care should be taken that there is no overwatering done as this can damage the plant.
In addition to that, the foliage color of this variety is bronze, and it is mainly grown for its foliage. It is resistant to deer and grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches spreads to 18 to 24 inches in width, too. There are many propagation methods for this variety. It can be propagated by dividing the root ball, using stem cuttings, seeds, and in some areas, it also self-seeds. Deadheading is recommended for this variety as it can help the plant look fresher and can also help with seedlings in the next season.
Three-veined Everlasting (Anaphalis triplinervis)
This herbaceous perennial is native to the Himalayas. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. It grows to a height of approximately 1.5 to 2 feet and spreads 0.75 to 1.5 feet. The flower color is white with yellow centers, and the bloom time for the flowers of this variety is July to August. Full sun and partial shade, both are ideal for the growth of this plant.
The three-veined everlasting requires a relatively low level of maintenance owing to the fact that the water needs of this variety are medium. The leaves of this variety are colorful, and they attract butterflies. It is an easy-to-grow plant and grows well in drained soils that are humus-rich. If the soil dries out, it can be hazardous for the foliage as it tends to rot.
The leaves of this plant are very narrow and are three-veined – exactly where this variety gets its name from. The flowers of this variety are used for cut flower purposes. The dried flower heads of this plant are sometimes dipped in various bright colored dyes for showy dried arrangements. The genus name of this variety comes from the classical Greek name for another of the everlastings. Apart from that, this plant does not have any serious insect or disease issues. However, caterpillars tend to be attracted by the foliage of this variety and tend to chew on it.
This is a very good plant for cottage gardens, wild gardens, and border fronts. It takes approximately 2 to 5 years for this plant to grow to its maximum height.
This plant is a very beautiful one, although not very popular. Even though not many people choose to grow this plant, it doesn’t change the fact that it can be put to many uses and can make any garden look beautiful!