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:
Royalties from the sale of “Starbright” will fund further research and development by the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
- 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.
For further information on “Starbright” contact Glenn Brooks at the Mount Annan Botanic Garden Nursery on 02 4634 7917.