In this article, we will discover how to grow Ammobium in containers. Ammobium’s name may not be familiar to most gardeners but once you see the flowers then you will instantly recognise the plant. It is a plant that is native to Australia where the most known species that grows there is Ammobium alatum.
The common name is winged everlasting where each upright stem has distinctive wings. On top of these stems are button-like blooms that have an outer ring of white petal-like bracts and at the centre, there is a prominent boss of tiny yellow or orange true flowers.
They are actually a member of the Aster family, where the blooms can be admired from mid-June to late September.
The basal of oval rosettes leaves are nothing to write home about but the silvery winged stems and yellow/orange blooms with white bracts are. This is because they are such an impactful plant to have in the garden. It makes an excellent flower for cutting but the biggest problem is that it will look gaunt on its own. To avoid this plant them in groups close to each other. It is not only for the flower arrangers but butterflies, hoverflies and bees will love them.
AMMOBIUM CRASPEDIOIDES IS AN ALTERNATIVELY
An alternative species that you may find is Ammobium craspedioides, the Yass Daisy. The plant tends to have a basal rosette of spoon-shaped, green leaves that are 12.5cm in length. Like Ammobium alatum the stems are winged along its stems and on top of these stems, it has solitary button-shaped flowers. In its native Australia, it is found growing in forests and so enjoys forest-like growing conditions of both moist and dry soils.
As they can be tall plants (growing up to 1.5m high), they can make a great impact when grown as a specimen plant in a large group, mixed with other yellow/white close within proximity.
Find out how to grow this half-hardy annual plant in containers in this article.
STARTING AMMOBIUM FROM SEED
As you are unlikely to find garden-ready plants, you will need to buy seeds online and start them 7 to 10 weeks before the final frost date. To achieve this, fill a seed tray with seed sowing compost and add water until the compost is moist.
Thinly spread the seeds on top of the surface of the compost and add a 2mm layer of sieved compost to cover the seed. Cover with a propagator lid and place it in a warm spot. A heated propagator or heat mat is ideal.
After 7-21 days the seeds should germinate and once they are big enough to handle, you can prick them out and transplant them to 7.5cm pots individually to grow on. In Mid-May start to harden the plants off for planting out in late May.
CARE FOR AN AMMOBIUM
At this stage, you can plant it in a container. To do this first, choose a large container that is well proportioned with the plants in question. A container that can take 3 plants will be ideal. Make sure the container in question has plenty of drainage holes. To this container add a 1cm layer of gravel to aid drainage. On top of this add multipurpose compost to within 5cm of the top rim.
At planting, it is best to add a handful of slow-release fertilizer into the multipurpose compost to give the plant an initial boost. Dig holes in the compost, one for each plant that is slightly bigger than the root ball it grew in the original container. Place the plant in so the top of the root ball is at the same level as the top surface of the compost. Backfill with the growing media ensuring that any gaps that remain are filled, even with more compost. Firm the plant in and water well.
Place your container where it will get as much sun as possible. You will need to water in prolonged dry spells and when 5cm below the top surface of the compost feels dry to the touch. In spring, you can as suggested, feed your plants with a slow-release fertilizer to get the plants through the growing season or you can feed every 2 weeks once the flowers buds start to appear with a high potash liquid fertilizer, Do not overwater at all cost.
PESTS AND DISEASES
The good news is that Ammobium is rarely attacked by pests and diseases. They can suffer mould, especially if the plant is overwatered. The mould spores each affects all plants, which is noted by the plant hanging their flower heads. If this is noted it will be best to pull the plant out and dispose of them.
The leaves can be covered with a white flour-like coating which indicates powdery mildew. This thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity. It is best avoided by providing good air circulation around the plants and by not having the compost dry over a too long period of time. If this is noted, you may need to spray regularly with a systemic fungicide at the manufacturer’s recommendations.
VARIETIES TO GROW
As said in the introduction, the most likely species you will find is Ammobium alatum, the Winged Everlasting. The most common variety is ‘Grandiflorum’. A shorter more compact variety is ‘Bikini’.
The other species, which is harder to find, is Ammobium craspedioides but the seeds are hard to find.
In this article, we have discussed how to grow the beautiful but unusually half-hardy Ammobium in containers. Ammobiums are instantly recognisable with their distinctive-looking flowers that are often dried and used for flower arranging.
They are easy to care for, easy to grow and tend to be pests and diseases free, especially if you avoid the roots from getting over wet. They are such delightful plants that you wonder why you have not grown them before.
If you have any questions or comments that you wish to make on growing Ammobium in containers, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy Ammobium growing.