Care for winged everlasting flower – watering, fertilizing and preventing diseases

Paper buttons are easy to clean. We’ll show you what you should still pay attention to so that you can enjoy your plants longer.

Maintaining paper buttons
© KHBlack –

The paper button (Ammobium alatum) is an attractive summer flower which is particularly suitable for rock gardens. You can also enjoy the annual plant from the composite family beyond the garden season, as the paper button can be used as a dried flower and made into attractive bouquets and flower arrangements. The frugal plants require only little maintenance. We have put together the following list of care instructions.

Correct casting

The water requirement of the paper button is rather moderate. The plant also tolerates longer dry periods. If watering is once neglected, this is less tragic than overdoing it with irrigation. The plants coming from Australia do not tolerate humid soils. If the moisture persists over a longer period of time, this leads to waterlogging. The roots are attacked and the plant begins to rot.

Potted plants are particularly affected by waterlogging as a result of watering errors. Therefore, when selecting the appropriate plant pot, it is important to ensure that there are sufficient drainage holes for the liquid in the bottom of the pot. A drainage system can also protect against waterlogging. To do this, simply place shards of clay or gravel on the bottom of the container before potting the plant.

“Tip: Do not water the plant until the substrate has dried.

Pour paper button:

  • moderate watering
  • Earth may dry up
  • Avoid waterlogging

Proper fertilizing

In order to promote flowering, it is advisable to supply the paper button with fertilizer from time to time during the growing period. Liquid fertilizers for flowering plants are preferred. This is easy to dose and can easily be added to the irrigation water.

If you add compost to the soil when planting, you supply the paper button with an organic slow-release fertilizer, which supplies the plant with nutrients throughout the summer. Additional fertilization is then usually not necessary.

” Attention: The plant should not be overfertilized. If the supply of nutrients is too high, there is a danger that the flowers will literally fall apart.

Paper button fertilize:

  • apply liquid fertiliser during the flowering period
  • Add compost to the substrate
  • Avoid overfertilization

Multiply paper buttons

The paper button can be multiplied by seeds. Seeds are available on the market all year round. You can also extract them from existing seed plants. Then the flower heads cannot be used as dried flowers, or you can keep some flowers and let them bloom or fade.

“Tip: If the paper buttons are to be used as dried flowers, they must be cut before the flower heads are fully opened.

The seeds are preferred in the house. This can already be started in March. To do this, fill a plant container with growing soil and spread the seeds on it. These are covered with a thin layer of earth and germinate at temperatures around 15 degrees. After the ice saints, you can plant the young plants outdoors.

Overview of care measures

care measure explanation
casting It is cast only moderately.
A dry floor is better tolerated than stagnant water.
If the plant is kept in a tub, it needs regular watering.
Make sure that the planter is well permeable.
fertilizing In order to promote flowering, liquid fertilizer should be added.
Overfertilisation should be avoided.
cutting The paper button does not have to be cut.
hibernation The plant is annual and is disposed of in autumn.
A hibernation is not necessary.
In their native Australia alone, the plants are perennial.

Detecting and combating diseases and pests

The paper button is only rarely attacked by diseases and pests.

If the flowers seem to hang their heads for no reason, this could indicate an infestation with a mould fungus. If the plants are attacked by mould, this can be recognized by a whitish layer, which covers the leaves. The formation of moulds is usually due to maintenance errors.

“Tip: The main causes of mould infestation are high humidity and a location that is too damp.

If the irrigation water cannot drain off, the substrate begins to mould due to overwatering. This occurs particularly frequently when the paper buttons are planted in the bucket and there is little substrate available. The mould spores then spread rapidly and cover the substrate and the plant pot like a net. All infested parts of the plant must be removed immediately. If the mould infestation is already far advanced, only chemical pesticides can help. However, this should be well considered, because it is an annual plant. In this case, disposal would probably be more environmentally friendly.

Danger mildew

© majuroan –

If the plants appear to be covered with a flour-like coating, a particularly stubborn mould has taken possession of the paper button. Powdery mildew is a “fair weather mushroom”. Warm temperatures combined with high humidity provide the ideal habitat for powdery mildew. If it is dry over a longer period of time, this will not make much difference to the plant, as the paper button feels more comfortable in a dry soil anyway than in persistent moisture. However, the leaves have a hard time developing fully in hot and dry summers. If it comes to a rain break, the mushroom spores find an ideal entrance gate.

If the floury coating becomes visible, the hobby gardener should act immediately to prevent the mushroom from spreading further.

Home remedy against powdery mildew:

  • Spraying the infested plant parts with milk
  • Spraying the infested plant parts with horsetail broth
  • Spraying the infested plant parts with garlic brew
  • Spraying the infested plant parts with Rainfarn Tea

The tinctures should be used on a dry day if possible, otherwise the rain would quickly wash off the active ingredient again. Spray the plant generously, preferably on parts of the plant affected by mildew. A single application is usually not enough. The plants should be treated several times a week until the characteristic white coating is no longer visible.

How can mildew be prevented?

Choose a protected location so that the moisture cannot clog the plant. The paper buttons should not be planted too tightly. The plant can develop much better if a planting distance of at least 30 centimetres is maintained. Furthermore, the leaves dry faster after the downpour and mildew has no chance, especially if it is a sunny location.

“Tip: Strong and healthy plants are less vulnerable to disease. If you provide a sunny location, loose soil and sufficient nutrients, this is the best prevention against diseases and pests.

Reasons for reduced growth

If the plants appear small and puny and hardly form flowers, this can have several causes. If sowing is too early, for example, the seeds germinate only slowly. It is therefore advisable not to sow the paper button before April.

Other reasons for reduced growth:

  • too dark a position
  • too few nutrients
  • too much water
  • too little water

Attention when drying

The paper button is not only endangered in the bed. Even if the dried flowers have already been arranged into bouquets or flower arrangements, rot may occur. They didn’t have enough patience during the drying process. If the flowers are not completely dried out, they will not last longer. The moist stems begin to rot.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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