Anaphalis, pearly everlasting, a drought-loving plant that blooms without water

Pearly everlasting, a flower that can cope with drought

Anaphalis is an excellent plant for extremely dry gardens, to the point that its pearly, everlasting flowers make excellent dried bouquets!

Key Anaphalis facts

Botanical nameAnaphalis sp.
Type – perennial

Bearing – upright clump
Height – 6 to 28 inches (15 to 70 cm) depending on the species
Planting density – 4 to 8 plants per sq. yard (m²)

Soil type – any type, well drained
Exposure – full sun

Anaphalis is a family of perennials that bloom in a similar manner to that of the Italian everlasting. Each one is able to grow in poor soil and survive long droughts, which makes it the perfect choice for difficult gardens and beginner gardeners.

Planting anaphalis

Even though it has a preference for poor and sandy soil, pearly everlasting will nonetheless do well in humus-rich soil. The only true requirement this perennial has is the need for full sun.

It’s thus pretty important to plant this flower in an area that has lots of sun for it to thrive.

The planting doesn’t require anything specific in terms of preparation. Simply dig a hole more or less 10 inches (20 cm) deep and settle the plant clump in the hole, pressing the soil well as you backfill. Ideally, you’d do this in Autumn (October, November), so that the perennial has a few cool months to spread its roots underground. Quite a lot of flexibility is allowed by this family of drought-resistant plants that is the Anaphalis genus, so Spring planting is also possible on the condition that you check on the watering from time to time.

Care and propagation of Anaphalis

Care won’t take any time and basically consists of pruning off older, wilted flowers.

To propagate anaphalis, the simplest and quickest solution is to divide the clump. In a nutshell, you just dig the whole clump out of the ground in Fall, break it into several smaller clumps, and plant each back in a new place. You can also go for seed reproduction by harvesting seeds after the flowering. However, it takes longer and sometimes the seeds aren’t always fertile.

Diseases and pests

These particularly vigorous perennials resist diseases well. Moreover, parasites, pests and other buggers don’t seem interested in their foliage.

Use and nice plants to pair it with

Since they resist hardship so well, anaphalis will excel in difficult spots such as rocky terrain. Of course, it’s perfectly legitimate to use a row of them along edges or in flower beds in healthy soil, too! Pairing these plants will usually be the chance to highlight other perennials that have a strongly contrasting leafage, harmoniously answering the Anaphalis’ silvery gray foliage. Examples that stand out are, for instance, Ophiopogon, knotweed, Anchusa, etc.

A few interesting species

Anaphalis margaritacea

Also called the “Virginia immortal”, this variety is one of the tallest (2 to 2½ feet or 60 to 70 cm). Its light green to grayish leaves are narrow and lance-shaped. It blooms from July to September.

The flowers look like tiny daisies on this maragaritaceae species

Anaphalis triplinervis

This variety grows into a compact form that is shorter and denser. Its silver gray oval leaves are wider.

The triplinervis species grows more like a cushion, short and lush

Smart tip about Anaphalis

The summer flowers are ideal for composing bouquets or collecting dried flowers.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Sonja Kalee, Carola Engels
CC BY-SA 2.0: Tatiana Gerus, Udo Schröter