Native to the Himalayas and the Mediterranean, Helichrysum silver spike grows wild there, and grows readily in dry areas of the U.S. It originates in mountainous areas with harsh weather conditions and may adapt to cold spots as far north as Zone 6. Helichrysum, the botanical name for the plant, means everlasting or immortal in Latin.
What is Silver Spike Grass
How to Grow Silver Spike Grass
This perennial plant is heat and drought tolerant, a good specimen for those sunny to dappled sun areas in the landscape. Silver spike grass needs average soil that is well-drained and gritty. Amend the soil with coarse sand, chicken grit, and compost to improve drainage and provide a gritty aspect. As with other drought tolerant plants, a little water will improve the health and appearance of silver spike grass.
Silver spike grass grows mostly as an annual in areas other than Zone 9 and warmer, where it is considered hardy. Wet winters often cause its demise. The still active base of the plant may freeze, and wet soil further encourages the condition of “winter wet.” If your winters are dry, silver spike grass might grow perennially in your area. Some say it is cold hardy as far north as Zone 6.
Yellow, insignificant, button-like flowers appear in summer, adding to the beauty of the grass. Although they are attractive, the grass is normally grown for its silvery blue foliage and savory fragrance.
Medicinal Uses of Helichrysum
Medicinal uses for the attractive landscape plant have been studied, resulting in the development of an essential oil made from its flowers and leaves. The oil is used for a range of problems, from infections to insomnia. (Note: Essential oils are not meant for ingestion. Use them topically or in an immunotherapy situation. Should a rash or redness appear, immediately discontinue use of the oil).
Italy, Portugal and Spain are among the European counties who use the plant in traditional medicine. Aside from preventing infections, it is thought to heal wounds, fight malaria and prevent weight gain. Perfume makers have also utilized the spicy fragrance in several their products.