Bastard Chamomile (Helichrysum stoechas)

The flowers of the Helichrysum are small

Image - Flickr / Panegyrics of Granovetter

In the Mediterranean region we can find a large number of wild plants that will give us many joys if we grow them in gardens and / or in pots. One of them is what is known as Helichrysum stoechas, which due to its characteristics is called bastard chamomile.

It does not grow very large, yet it produces a large number of flowers every year. And the best thing is that, being original places where it rains rather little, it is quite resistant to drought.

Origin and characteristics

Helichrysum stoechas lives in open fields

Image - Wikimedia / Ghislain118

Our protagonist It is a herbaceous native to the Mediterranean region, where it grows in dry, arid and stony terrain, often near the sea. Its scientific name is Helichrysum stoechas, although it is known as bastard chamomile, yellow amaranth, ordinary chamomile, chamomile, immortelle, or yellow immortelle.

Reaches a height of up to 70 centimeters, and produces erect stems from which thin, linear, tomentose, gray-green leaves sprout. When rubbed together, they give off an intense aroma. The flowers are grouped in capitular inflorescences, they are hermaphroditic in the center and female in the periphery, yellow in color. The seeds are about 3mm. It blooms from spring to mid-summer.

There are two accepted subspecies:

  • Helichrysum stoechas subsp barrelieri
  • Helichrysum stoechas subsp stoechas

What are their cares?

The flowers of the bastard chamomile are yellow

Image - Flickr / jacinta lluch valero

If you would like to have a copy, we recommend you take care of it as follows:

Location

Bastard chamomile it is a plant that must be outside, in an area where direct sunlight is possible throughout the day. In this way, you can have good growth and development.

Earth

  • Flower pot: it is very important that the substrate or mixture of substrates facilitate drainage. For this reason, I advise mixing black peat with mulch and perlite in equal parts.
  • the garden: grows on clay soils.

Irrigation

It must be controlled, since it does not resist waterlogging; What's more, it is enough that we go through the water once or twice for its roots to rot. To avoid it, and knowing that it tolerates drought, it is important that you check the humidity of the soil before watering so that in this way your plant always has the right amount of water.

With a digital moisture meter or a thin wooden stick it will be easy to find out what state the soil or substrate is in. Anyway, if you have doubts, wait a couple more days before adding water again.

And by the way, do not spray or wet its leaves or flowers, since otherwise you could lose them.

Subscriber

Manure guano powder is very good for bastard chamomile

Guano powder.

From early spring to late summer must be paid with ecological fertilizersNot only because it has medicinal properties that we will now see, but also because it is a way of caring for the environment. There are a wide variety of them: guano (on sale here!), compost, manure, etc., there are even others that are usually at home, like the ones we tell you in this Another item.

Multiplication

La Helichrysum stoechas multiplies by seeds in spring, following this step by step:

  1. The first thing you have to do is fill a seedling tray (you can get it here!) with universal growing substrate.
  2. Then water conscientiously.
  3. Then, place a maximum of two seeds in each socket, and cover them with a very thin layer of substrate.
  4. Then spray the surface of the substrate with water.
  5. Finally, place the seedbed outside, in full sun.

In this way, the first seeds will germinate very soon, in 1 week.

Pruning

So that it has a compact and rounded shape, cut back overgrown stems in late winter. Any scissors will work for you, be it specific for pruning (here! you have all the information about it) or even the kitchen ones.

Of course, disinfect them before and after using them with water and a few drops of dishwasher; this way infections are prevented 🙂.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed. If you are going to have it in a pot, it will be enough for you to transplant it every time it grows roots through the drainage holes, something that will only take a few years. When it has reached adult size, you can leave it there.

Plagues and diseases

It's very tough, but can be affected by mushrooms if overwatered. Avoid it.

Rusticity

It resists frosts of up to -7ºC.

What uses does it have?

Ornamental

It is a very decorative plant, ideal to have in a garden or in a pot. In addition, once cut and dried it is used in the composition of floral details.

Bastard chamomile properties

The flowers are medicinal. In infusion, they are known to be febrifuge and pectoral.

View of the bastard chamomile

Image - Flickr / José María Escolano

And with this we end with the file of the Helichrysum stoechas. What do you think? As you have read, it is relatively easy to care for, so it is very interesting for beginners and not so beginners who want a beautiful and medicinal plant.


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