Helichrysum petiolare
Common Name: licorice plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Southern Africa
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: White (non-flowering as annual)
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Drought


Tender evergreen perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-10. In St. Louis, it is grown as an annual. It is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates poor soils. Superior soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Set seedlings or purchased plants out after last frost date. Plants may self-seed in optimum growing conditions, but many of the cultivars will not come true from seed. Containers may be brought indoors before first frost for overwintering or cuttings may be taken in late summer for overwintering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Helichrysum petiolare, commonly called licorice plant, is grown for its silvery, densely-felted foliage and trailing habit. It is a shrubby, woody-based tender perennial that typically grows 1-2’ tall but spreads to as much as 3-4’ wide on upright to trailing stems densely clad with soft, woolly, oval-rounded, gray-green leaves (1.5” long). When grown as annuals, plants generally grow to 6-9” tall and usually will not flower. Overwintered plants may flower the second year. Tiny white flowers, if and when they do bloom, are insignificant and often removed by gardeners as they appear. Plant foliage may exude a slight licorice aroma in the heat of the summer, hence the common name. Cultivars with variegated and chartreuse leaves are available.

Genus name comes from the Greek words helios meaning the sun and chrysos meaning golden.

Specific epithet means with a leaf-stalk or a particularly long one.


Susceptible to root rot, particularly in poorly drained soils.


A good filler foliage plant that adds contrast and procumbent form to hanging baskets and containers. Annual ground cover. Trail over a stone wall. Edger.