Dictionary of Flowers: Helichrysum Petiolare (Licorice Plant)

Licorice Plant (Helichrysum Petiolare). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Serres Fortier and Flickr

Licorice Plant (Helichrysum Petiolare). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Serres Fortier and Flickr

  • Helichrysum Petiolare
  • Common name: licorice plant
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Category: frost sensitive annual, perennial in USDA zones 9 to 11
  • Height: 18" to 24"
  • Width: 24"
  • Sun/part shade
  • Blooms: grown for foliage interest
  • Growth habit: trailing. Used as spiller in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average, poor, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers.
  • Garden uses: containers, hanging baskets, mixed border, rockery, groundcover
  • Diseases: leaf spot and rot 
  • Pests: pest free

A native of South Africa, licorice plant is perennial in frost free zones.

It is normally sold as an annual in nurseries.

The silver, fuzzy, rounded leaves grow on stiff stems that seem to grow in all directions. 

The leaves are fragrant when crushed. 

There are variegated and chartreuse colored cultivars available. 

It is an easy plant to grow in the garden. Licorice plant is not particular about soil, growing in poor soil, provided the drainage is good.

It grows best in full sun, but it can tolerate part shade.

Water during dry summers when planted on the ground. It is more drought tolerant once it is established. Helicrhysum does require regular watering when grown in containers.

Fertilize licorice plant once in spring with a balanced slow release granular formula.

It requires little maintenance.

Pinch back to keep the stems a manageable size.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Propagate by cuttings taken in summer to overwinter indoors. Stem cuttings can be taken during summer and planted in loose potting soil mixed with perlite, after being dusted with rooting hormone.

Do not allow potting mix to become dry. They should root in about two weeks. They can be grown from seed, indoors.

Seeds need to be planted in moist starting mix around six to eight weeks before last frost date. Do not cover, as they need light to germinate. Kept at 70F, it takes about two weeks for seed to germinate.

Keep seedlings in bright light and wait to harden off and plant outside until after the last frost date.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Diseases that affect helichrysum are due to overwatering or lack of drainage. Avoiding these conditions will keep plants healthy. Licorice plant is not bothered by pests.

Popular varieties:

  • Helichrysum petiolare 'Variegata' - light green and white variegated leaves. Grows to about a foot and a half
  • Helichrysum petiolare'Limelight' - yellow-green leaves. Prefers part shade
  • Helichrysum petiolare 'Petite Licorice' - a compact variety, up to a foot tall. Small silver leaves

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

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