Growing Pearly Everlasting Plants In The Garden

Growing Pearly Everlasting Plants In The Garden

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By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Pearly everlasting plants are interesting specimens that grow as wildflowers in some areas of the United States. Growing pearly everlasting is simple. It prefers soil that is dry and weather that is hot. Once you’ve learned how to take care of pearly everlasting and the range of pearly everlasting uses, you may want to include it in several areas of the landscape.

Growing Pearly Everlasting

Known botanically as Anaphalis margaritacea, pearly everlasting plants are native to much of northern and western parts of the United States. and also grow in Alaska and Canada. Small white flowers grow on pearly everlasting – clusters of tight buds with yellow centers resemble pearls on a string, or in a cluster. Foliage of pearly everlasting plants is grayish white too, with small fuzzy leaves adorning this unusual specimen.

In some areas, the plants are considered a weed, so make sure you are able to take care of pearly everlasting in a manner to avoid future pearly everlasting problems.

Pearly everlasting plants are drought tolerant. Watering causes the stolons to spread, so if you want just a small stand of the plant, withhold water and don’t fertilize. This plant will easily colonize without fertilization. In most cases, fertilizing will cause pearly everlasting problems such as unwanted spreading.

Pearly everlasting wildflowers can be started from seeds or small plants. The plant is adaptable to sunlight, growing equally well in full to partial sun, but plant it in soil that is lean and dries out well. Blooms are long-lasting and attractive when growing in meadows, woodlands or controlled home landscape settings. Try the variety Anaphalis triplinervis, which only spreads 6 inches (15 cm.) out.

Pearly Everlasting Uses

When growing pearly everlasting, use this long-lasting plant in cut flower arrangements. It can also be harvested and hung upside down, to use as part of a long-lasting dried arrangement.

Growing pearly everlasting is easy — just remember to keep it under control by removing plants if necessary. Withhold water as a means of control and use the plant in indoor arrangements when they must be removed from the garden.

Reaching 1 to 3 feet (0.5-1 m.) in height, growing pearly everlasting in containers is feasible for those who don’t desire the spread of the plant. It is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.

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Pearly Everlasting


Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From seed sow indoors before last frost

From seed direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Tag Archives: pearly everlasting

Like dried flowers in a storebought display, California everlasting has crispy, white, straw-like petals. But actually these petals are bracts – you have to look close, and at the right time, to see the real (yellow) petals peeking through from the flower inside. When done flowering, the bracts open wide around a dandelion-like puff of seeds.

Pseudognaphalium californicum is a native that’s found in most parts of North America. It’s in the Asteraceae family, along with dandelion, chamomile, burdock and daisy. It dries out as nicely as its name suggests!

There are several similar-looking species to this one, including others in the Pseudognaphalium family. But I first mistook this plant for the very similar lookalike: pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritaceae – thanks to Doreen for setting me straight!). I’m still trying to figure out a good way to tell the two apart – in the key, the main difference is that California everlasting has a taproot while the roots of pearly everlasting are fibrous. I think that the flowers of the first are either bisexual (a typical flower, with both male and female parts) or only female, while the latter has separate male and female flowers. But since they are in the aster family, with little teeny tiny flowers, this is a hard difference to spot.

Just from looking at the photos, it seems that California everlasting has a much sleeker, smoother look to the shape of the bracts, while pearly everlasting seems to have a spiky look to each flower head, with the many pointy tips of the bracts bent backwards a little bit.

I’ll offer more tips on how to tell these two apart, as I come up with them!

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.

Care Of Pearly Everlasting - Information On Pearly Everlasting Uses - garden

Herbaceous Perennial Flower

Anaphalis sp.
Asteraceae Family

Pearly everlastings are prized for their long bloom period and gray-white foliage. The attractive floral heads with pearly white bracts are dried and widely used in preserved floral arrangments.

  • requires damp soil
The foliage of plants will decline in dry soils. Will thrive in moist soils unsuited for other gray-green foliage plants, such as Artimesia.

  • 3 to 8
May be only marginally hardy in Zone 3.

Ease-of-care: moderately difficult

This plant is easy to grow in the proper moist conditions. However, all species, with the exception of A. triplenervis send out stolons that can overrun the garden.

(Anaphalis triplinervis) var. intermedia (also called A. nepalensis) is generally less than 1 foot tall.

(Anaphalis triplinervis) var. intermedia (also called A. nepalensis) has a spread of only about 6 inches.

  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

  • yellow
  • white

The plant's true flowers, which typically are yellow, are not its primary souce of interest. Rather, the plants are prized for their pearly white floral bracts.

  • medium green
  • gray-green

Foliage texture: medium

  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

The upright plants form cushions of foliage with time.

Shape in flower: flower stalks with upright spikes

The blooms are borne in small- to medium-sized clusters rising above the foliage.

Propagate by seed, cuttings, division or separation - Division is the easiest method of propagation. Divide every 4 to 5 years in spring.

Sow seeds in pots in spring, transplant to garden when mature and weather permits.

Take basal or tip cuttings in spring and early summer.

Keep soil moist but not soggy at all times. Foliage fades in dry soil. Remove dead leaves to keep looking neat.

Deadhead when flowers fade. Cut plants back severely if foliage becomes overdry. Allow the dead foliage to remain over the winter, cut back in spring.

More growing information: How to Grow Perennials

Common pearly everlasting species include:

Common pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea var. cinnamomea) - White, woolly stems turn rust-colored. Leaves greenish with white hairs.

Japanese pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea var. yedoensis) - Foliage silver-edged, dark gray.

Three-veined everlasting (Anaphalis triplinervis) - 'Summer Snow' is a popular variety. var. intermedia (also called A. nepalensis) is a compact form but only hardy to Zone 5.

©2006 Cornell University. All rights reserved.


© Copyright: Images: Jouko Lehmuskallio.
All rights reserved.

Pearly Everlasting

Anaphalis margaritacea

  • Name also: Western Pearly Everlasting
  • Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Asteroideae
    (formerly Aster Family – Asteraceae)
  • Growing form: Perennial herb.
  • Height: 40–80 cm (15–35 in.). Stem rigidly erect, unbranched, light grey, downy.
  • Flower: Dioecious (male and female flowers on different individuals). Flowers form approx. 1 cm (0.4 in.) wide, single flower-like capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitulum with no ray-florets, disk florets yellowish, tubular. Stamens 5. Gynoecium composed of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts overlap in several rows, tongue-like, completely membranous, pearl white, shiny. Capitula in a dense terminal corymb.
  • Leaves: Alternate, stalkless, short decurrent. Blade linear, narrowly elliptic–narrowly ovate, 3-veined, dark grey-green, becoming glabrous on top, underside light-coloured and consistently downy, with entire margins, margins curving downwards.
  • Fruit: Long, elliptic, slightly granular, brown, achene under 1 mm (0.04 in.) long, with unbranched hairs on tip.
  • Habitat: Yards, banks. Ornamental, sometimes left over from old gardens.
  • Flowering time: July–October.

Everlastings are relatives of Antennaria and Gnaphalium plants, which grow ferally in Finland. Pearly everlasting is native to North America and north-east Asia. In Finland it is quite a common feature in rockeries. It has adapted to barren and dry conditions, and its cut flowers last a long time in a vase. The capitulum’s involucral bracts are as hard as paper, which means that it makes a good dried flower. It also attracts butterflies and other insects that use nectar as a source of nutrition.

As a wild perennial, pearly everlasting doesn’t really need any care at all, and it’s undemanding with regards to habitat too. In old neglected and abandoned perennial flower-beds it holds its own against wild plants for a long time. Pearly everlasting spreads to a certain extent through runners and is feral in some places in southern Finland. The species is dioecious, meaning that seeds are only produced when male and female plants grow close to each other.

Of the other plants that grow in Finland that pearly everlasting could be confused with, it perhaps bears most resemblance to mountain everlasting (Antennaria dioica), which thrives in the same kind of sunny, dryish places. Pearly everlasting is however taller and has no basal rosette, while mountain everlasting has a distinct leaf rosette at its base.

→ Distribution map (Kasviatlas, University of Helsinki)

Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly everlasting margaritacea) will reach a height of 0.6m and a spread of 0.6m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Flower Arranging, Beds and borders


Plant in any moderately fertile, moist but well-drained, soil. Best in full sun, but will also tolerate partial shade. It dislikes winter wet.

Soil type

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH




UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5

In order to add a note on this plant, please add this plant to your plant lists.

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