The licorice plant is an intriguing species in high demand for its unique foliage, and growers cultivate the plant all year long. It is related to strawflowers and comes from arid lands in South Africa.
Description of licorice plant: Licorice plant is a mound-forming or trailing shrub, which, when grown as an annual, bears stems that reach about 20 inches long. They are covered with furry, silver, heart-shaped leaves, also available with cream or yellow coloration. If allowed to flower late in the growing season, it produces cream-colored flower heads.
How to grow licorice plant: Grow in well-drained soil of moderate fertility or ordinary peat-based potting mix in full sun to light shade.
Propagating licorice plant: Root cuttings of firm shoots in summer to winter indoors and then replant in spring.
Uses for licorice plant: Blend a single, silver-leaved plant in a pot with cool blue and purple or warm red and pink flowers. Try the golden-leaved form with warm orange and red flowers. You also can plant masses of either color in annual beds for the contrasting foliage and season-long color.
Licorice plant related varieties: 'Limelight' has yellow-green leaves and grows best in light shade. 'Variegatum' has cream-variegated silver leaves.
Scientific name for licorice plant: Helichrysum petiolare