Content Detail

Pearly everlasting is a North American native perennial found in dry, sunny, gravelly fields and wood edges. It grows about 3 feet high on upright stems with a flat-topped cluster of small white flowers with yellow centers and silver-gray foliage. It blooms in late summer and is a larval host for the painted lady butterfly.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Dry soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast

Native geographic location and habitat:

Pearly everlasting is found along roadsides and dry, gravelly, sandy fields throughout North America.

Attracts birds and pollinators:

It attracts butterflies and is a host plant for the larvae of American painted lady.

Leaf description:

Silver-gray slender leaves about 3 to 5 inches long on wooly stems. Leaves often have a wavy to a rolled edge and pointed leaf tip.

Flower description:

Dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Clusters of tiny yellow flowers enclosed in white papery bracts are often mistaken for petals. Male flowers are globular and female flowers are egg-shaped.

Fruit description:

It produces a small brown seed with tufts of white hairs which help with wind dispersal.

Plant care:

Pearly everlasting does best in full sun in loose, gravelly, sandy soil. Well-drained soil is needed to avoid root rots. Cut flowers are long-lasting and make excellent dried arrangements.

List of pests, diseases, tolerances and resistance:

Butterfly larval feeding on leaves in spring causes some damage to the plant but it recovers by midsummer. No serious pests or diseases and it is resistant to deer.


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