Pearly Everlasting is a Butterfly Larvae Host

Featured Photo Credit: Pendragon39, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pearly everlasting features tiny clusters of yellow flowers enclosed by white papery bracts, which look like petals, grace this beautiful wildflower in summer. There are separate male and female flowers, usually on separate plants, and they take on different gender-specific yellow or rust-yellow colors. This short wildflower makes a nice edge for your garden or will look great in front of taller plants.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Anaphalis margaritacea

Botanical Family: Asteraceae

En français: Anaphale marguerite, Immortelle blanche

Colours:

Blooms:

Water: Moist soil preferred, but drought tolerant.

Pollinators:

Hardiness Zones:

Attracts Pollinators

This plant is a larva host for the American Lady butterfly in the spring. The young larvae create a silken web around the plant to feed. This can look discouraging if you are trying to grow this plant. Still, like in many native plant-insect relationships, the plant generally makes a full recovery and flowers later in the summer. Flowers persist and are profuse late-summer through fall to attract numerous beneficial Insects.

An american lady butterfly on a pink flowered plant.
American Lady Butterfly
Credit: Julia Wilkins, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where to plant pearly everlasting?

As a butterfly larvae host, it can be part of a butterfly garden, a cottage garden or a wildflower garden. Seeds or small plants can be used to grow pearly everlasting wildflowers. Because the plant does well in full to partial sun, you should plant it in lean soil so it can dry out easily.

How to gather pearly everlasting seeds?

Seeds of Pearly Everlasting mature when the centers of the flowers turn dark brown. Let the heads dry away from direct sunlight by removing them and spreading them out. The seeds should be separated from the papery husk by threshing the heads. Dry and cool places are ideal for storing Pearly Everlasting seeds.

How to plant pearly everlasting seeds?

When starting indoors from seed, sow in the spring or autumn after the last frost. Pearly seeds must be exposed to light in order to germinate; don’t cover them with soil. In about 2-4 weeks, you should see seeds germinate; if you surface, sow them before the last frost. If you need to start them indoors, keep them at 60-70°F and keep them moist but not soggy.

Medicinal Uses

Drinking pearly everlasting tea or steam can clear your airways and reduce mucus discharge. It is also an appropriate herb to use as a remedy for persistent throat irritation and wet, chesty coughs. If you have a stodgy fever and slight chills, soaking in a hot bath or sauna infused with pearly will help you perspire and release any ache and pain associated with colds and flu. In addition to treating respiratory complaints like bronchitis and pneumonia, pearly everlasting is sometimes smoked as a tobacco substitute. Though not recommended, young pearly everlasting leaves can be edible when cooked properly.

Pearly everlasting and animals

There have been no reports of toxic effects associated with Anaphalis margaritacea. It has no toxic effect on cats, birds, dogs, horses, livestock, or human. Despite being non-toxic, goats do not prefer to feed on them. On top of this, they are deer resistant, but their flowers do attract bees and other insects.

Invasiveness and companion plants

Pearly everlasting can be invasive if watered regularly and fertilized abundantly as it spreads by underground stems. Be sure to think about where you’ll plant it and how you’ll care for it before adding it to your yard.

Plants such as this perennial grow well in native gardens alongside false indigo, garden phlox, butterfly weed, coreopsis, Liatris, ironweed, and purple coneflower, which also thrive in the same conditions.

Sources and References

US Forest Service

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