Strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum) are a garden annual of the Asteraceae family. The Strawflower as it is known, is native to Australia and parts of South Africa. The flower itself is made up of paper-like petals and come in various color combinations. After the flower is picked and dried it will last for a very long time. When the flower dries it will keep it's color and does not wilt. After the flowers bloom I recommend cutting them down and letting them dry. It does not take long and they make wonderful dried flower arrangements.
History of the strawflower
English gardeners were probably introduced to the plant in 1799. They were most likely given seeds or seedlings by the Aborigines. Australia was a penal colony around that time. The first European settlement by British convicts occurred in 1788. It is therefore quite probable that the Europeans got the flower in this period of time.
Strawflowers are just about as easy to grow as they are to dry. You can purchase a package of about fifty seeds for around $1.29. The seeds will take to just about any type of soil and are quite tolerant of heat and drought. When planting outside, place the seeds about two or three inch's apart and about a quarter inch deep. The seed requires light to germinate, so not too deep. Seeds should be planted about a week after the last frost. The strawflower likes full sun and will poke up out of the ground in about five to ten days. If your flowers begin to get too bunched up, you can use a technique known as thinning. When the flowers are about one inch tall, carefully transplant them to twelve inch's apart. Sometimes thinning is required if your plants become to close together. They can actually damage each other's root systems if not properly spaced. Thinning is a very common practice when growing a wide variety of flowers.