As a showy chartreuse foliage plant, "Lemon Licorice" licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare "Lemon Licorice") is hard to beat. Use the plant's bright leaves -- which are delicate but plentiful -- as a bright contrast, setting off dark flowers or for spectacularly lining a pathway. This bedding or container plant needs little in the way of special care. You can grow it as an annual in all areas, or grow it as a perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 10. "Lemon Licorice" plant will add sizzle to your garden without requiring much in the way soil amendments or extra work.
1. Soil Type
Hard-packed, clay soil is about the only soil type posing a danger to fuss-free "Lemon Licorice" plant. The plant needs well-draining soil to prevent root rot, the main disease to which it is vulnerable. If you need to lighten the soil, work a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost into the bed before planting. "Lemon Licorice" doesn't need a specific pH to thrive, so unless your soil has an extreme pH, it's best to leave it alone.
Due to its vulnerability to fungal disease, avoid low-lying boggy areas. Instead, place "Lemon Licorice" plant in a well-draining, or even dry, garden bed. If your choice of garden spots is limited, build a raised bed so the roots aren't sitting in constantly wet soil. A container will also solve this problem. When watering, aim for evenly moist soil without over-watering. "Lemon Licorice" plant is more likely to survive too little watering than too much.
"Lemon Licorice" plant does well in containers -- a hanging basket, window box or freestanding pot. Because it's short and spreading, "Lemon Licorice" plant is best situated to the outer edges of a mixed container. When choosing potting soil for your container, look for one that specifies "well-draining" on the package, or that contains perlite. If your choice of potting soil is limited to a more moisture-retentive type, mix 1 part perlite, rice hulls, sharp sand or powdered shale into 2 parts of the potting soil.
4. Additional Care
The "Lemon Licorice" plant can be spaced as far apart as 20 inches, which equals its ultimate spread. It does well in either sun or part shade. It doesn't need much in the way of fertilizer, especially if you've used compost to improve texture. If your "Lemon Licorice" plant seems to be failing to thrive, apply a 1-inch layer of compost around the plant and water well to allow the compost's nutrients to sink into the soil. If you prefer to see an unbroken carpet of lime-green leaves, remove the plant's small white flowers as they appear. Uproot the plant during garden clean-up in fall, unless you live in USDA zones 9 to 11. In these warmer climates, "Lemon Licorice" plant will grow year-round.
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