This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
Helichrysum monstrosum, a South African plant 2-3 ft. high, having double flower heads of golden yellow, crimson, white, rose, sulphur yellow, violet, and orange red, etc, which are freely produced in open sunny situations or under glass. H. arenarium, 6-12 in. high, has golden-yellow flowers; and H. bracteatum, a beautiful Australian annual, 3-4 ft. high, has flower heads varying from pure white to rose, light and pale yellow.
H. incurvum is a splendid plant, 2-3 ft. high, having Wallflower-like leaves and brilliant heads of flower 2-3 in. across, orange and yellow inside and deep crimson outside. It should be grown in bold masses for flowering in August and September.
The "Immortelles" so largely used for wreaths, crosses, etc, by florists, are the dried flowers of H. orientate. These are imported to the extent of several thousands of pounds worth annually, and are to be had not only in the natural yellow colour, but bleached to white, and dyed blue, red, green, purple, etc. The plant is a native of Crete, and much too tender for open-air cultivation in the British Islands. About 5000 acres, each with about 24,000 plants, are devoted to the industry in the South of France.
Helipterum roseum (or Acroclinium roseum) (fig. 198) is another Australian annual, 1-2 ft. high, having rosy flowers, with a white variety. H. Humboldtianum, (or Sand-fordi), 1-1½ ft. high, is a woolly, white Australian annual with bright - yellow flowers which change to a metallic green when dried; and E. Manglesi (fig. 199), still better known by the name of Rhodanthe, is a popular Australian Everlasting, 1-1½ ft. high, having ovate-oblong leaves, and soft rose-pink flower heads with a yellow centre. Xeranthemum annuum (or radiatum) is a South European Everlasting, about 2 ft. high, with woolly, white stems and leaves, and flowers varying in colour from white to purple and violet, in single and double forms. Ammobium alatum is another hoary-looking Australian Everlasting, 1½-2 ft. high, having silvery-white flowers with yellow centres, the variety grandiflorum being particularly fine.
Fig. 198. - Acroclinium roseum.
Fig. 199. - Helipterum (Rhodanthe) Manglesi.
The species mentioned above are all easily raised from seeds sown in pots or shallow boxes in gentle heat in March, the young plants being afterwards pricked out in boxes, or three or four being placed in a 5-in. pot and grown on for sale in May and June. The stems, being fragile in most cases, require a thin twig to hold them up, with a piece of black cotton, etc, tied round.