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Flora for Fauna News:
Star joins Flora for Fauna

The Sydney Flannel Flower Actinotus helianthi “Starbright” PBR is the latest addition to the Flora for Fauna plant database.

The Horticultural Research & Development staff at Mount Annan Botanic Garden, located near Camden in NSW, developed "Starbright".

“We believe that “Starbright” is a perfect plant to be included in the Flora for Fauna program" says Horticulturalist Glenn Brooks. "It provides seed for Red-rumped parrots (grass parrots) and produces nectar that attracts a variety of butterflies. In the garden, the silver-colour foliage provides a wonderful colour contrast while the creamy white flowers bloom over a long period.”

Actinotus helianthi is found from central and south-east Queensland down to the south coast and western slopes of New South Wales.

A short lived perennial, it usually lives for 3 - 4 years and grows up to 70cm high and 60cm wide. It is frost tolerant to -4 degrees Celsius.

The common name comes from the flannel-like texture of the creamy white flowers that often have green tips. The flowers have a daisy-like appearance and bloom mid-late spring to early summer. The blooms also make long-lasting cut flowers.

The leaves are heavily divided, silvery-grey in colour and have a felt-like appearance and texture.

“The Sydney Flannel Flower is an ideal plant for cottage-style gardens, rockeries or in containers,” says Glenn. “It prefers lightly filtered sunlight or sun for part of the day in well-drained sandy loam and clay loam soils.”

Glenn’s tips for growing Sydney Flannel Flowers:

  • It’s important to avoid wetting the foliage when watering as the leaves discolour
  • Provide protection from strong winds
  • Fertilise regularly with slow-release fertiliser
  • Apply mulch around the plant to a maximum depth of 5cm as too much mulch can lead to stem rot problems.
  • Flannel Flowers responds well to pruning after flowering and tip pruning through late summer/early autumn.
Royalties from the sale of “Starbright” will fund further research and development by the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

For further information on “Starbright” contact Glenn Brooks at the Mount Annan Botanic Garden Nursery on 02 4634 7917.

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Mount Annan Botanic Gardens, NSW

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