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Craspedia/Billy Buttons/Sun Ball--Use in a permaculture system???  RSS feed

 
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Okay, so I gave my son a seed catalog and some sticky notes and a pen to pick out what he wants in his garden this year. So far, he's picked out rutabegas and sun ball flowers. I know nothing about either of them!



I did a search for Craspedia and permaculture and didn't really encounter anything. Are the flowers edible? Do they attract bees? Are there benefits to these perennial flowers? Would they be benificial for an apple tree, or in a garden bed, or by themselves?



Any help is much appreciated!
 
Nicole Alderman
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I've done a bit of research, and it looks like they aren't edible (and are poisonous to some animals). So, I don't want it in his garden bed, where he might get confused and try to eat it. They are a good pollinator plant, that likes wet/swampy soil that's well drained. Which is perfect for my site, which is gravely loam and wet (1/3rd of my property is protected wetland, and the rest isn't much drier).

It also likes full--or mostly full--sun. Hopefully it won't mind nearly no sun in the winter, because being on a north-facing slope, that's what I have.

I'm thinking of either planting it next to his apple tree, or maybe in the area next to his garden bed. I don't know if it'd like being next to his garden bed, as the soil is very...woody and thin. It's mostly an old cedar stump and it's roots, and I don't know if it likes that type of organic material.

Anyone have any experience growing this plant?

I want to present my son with options that will be hopefully result in his flowers actually sprouting and flourishing...
 
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Craspedia doesn't seem to have much use except as a cut flower, and will hold for a long time in a vase. They are cheerful and bright, and bloom all season long. If you are in zone 8 or higher, they will grow as perennials and come back each year. Otherwise, they will grow as annuals, and probably reseed each year so you will still have a steady supply of cheerfulness over the years after planting them. I think they are so cute! They are also excellent pollinatiors, and that right there is reason enough for growing them!
 
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