The mountain everlasting forms pretty carpets in sunny locations. If you follow these planting and care tips, the perennial will thrive in your garden with little effort.
Profile of mountain everlasting:
Scientific name: Antennaria dioica
Plant family: daisy family (Asteraceae)
Other names: stoloniferous pussytoes, catsfoot, cudweed
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring to autumn
Flowering period: May to June
Soil quality: sandy to loamy, low in nutrients, low in humus
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flowers bouquets, roof greening, planters, flower garden, roof garden, heather garden, rock garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of mountain everlasting
Plant order, origin and occurrence of mountain everlasting
The mountain everlasting (Antennaria dioica), also known as stoloniferous pussytoes, catsfoot or cudweed, belongs to the large daisy family (Asteraceae). The genus Antennaria includes a total of around 45 species that are distributed in temperate, arctic and alpine climatic zones around the world. Antennaria dioica is native to Eurasia and inhabits semi-arid grasslands and light forests with sandy, rather acidic soils. The name pussytoes or catsfoot is derived from the flowers, which are reminiscent of soft mountain everlasting.
Characteristics of mountain everlasting
The mountain everlasting is a vigorous plant that quickly forms with its short runners thick, silver-green carpets. The cushion perennial is 5 to 20 centimeters (2 to 8 in) high and 20 to 30 centimeters ( 8 to 12 in) wide.
The small, silver-green leaf rosettes of the mountain everlasting consist of spatulate leaves that are smooth on the top and tomentose on the underside. In their natural location, the hair protects the leaves from drying out.
On each leaf rosette of the branching basic shoots, dainty, white or purple-pink inflorescences appear in late spring from May to June. These consist of up to 12 little baskets full of tubular flowers that stand together as cymes. There are up to a hundred individual flowers in each flower head. Since the mountain everlasting is dioecious, it has either male or female flowers. While the crown of the male flowers appears whitish to reddish, that of the female flowers is pink to deep purple in color. The flowers of the catsfoot, as the plant is also called, are particularly popular with bees and butterflies.
After flowering, Antennaria dioica forms seeds with pappus.
Mountain everlasting – cultivation and care
The mountain everlasting thrives best in a sunny, warm location. Even high temperatures cannot harm the robust perennial.
The soil for mountain everlasting should be sandy, well-drained, low in lime and dry. The catsfoot is therefore predestined for the rock garden.
Planting mountain everlasting
When planting the mountain everlasting, keep a planting distance of around 20 centimeters (8 in). You can expect about 25 perennials per square meter (10 sq ft).
Watering / Fertilization
Once the mountain everlastings have grown, they don’t need any additional watering or fertilizer. They are absolutely frugal. On the contrary, too much water and nutrients hinders the development of the plants.
The mountain everlasting is an undemanding shrub for the rock garden and does not need any special care or fertilization. It even needs a minimum of nutrients. As a polster shrub, mountain everlastings does not need a prune, only stems that have faded must be cut off. If you want to prevent self-sowing, you should remove any that has withered in good time so that the seeds do not ripen. Occasionally, however, you have to control the growth so that weaker plants are not overgrown.
In spring or autumn you can divide mountain everlasting by cutting out pieces from the carpet of plants and putting them back into the ground elsewhere.
The easiest way to propagate the mountain everlasting is by dividing it. When sowing, you should only cover the very fine seeds a little with soil and spray water carefully over them.
- Sow in spring or autumn, the best time is in April / May
- Do not scatter the very small seeds too densely
- Need light to germ, so do not cover with soil, just press down
- Spray carefully with water
- Place on a bright spot and spray something regularly
- Prick out about a month after germination
Diseases and pests
The mountain everlasting is robust and is rarely attacked by pests. Even the snails do not like the perennial.
Cat paws are hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. Usually they do not need any protection and delight with their gray-green foliage in winter. Only specimens planted very late in the year should be covered. Otherwise, the planted specimens get through the winter well. Plants in containers should be placed in a quite dry location, i.e. under a roof overhang or on a covered terrace.
Use in the garden
The mountain everlasting is well suited for sunny rock gardens or stone trays, but is also ideal for planting heather gardens or roof gardens: there the small perennial forms loose carpets. Yellowtuft (Alyssum murale) or different types of thyme (Thymus) are suitable as partners in the bed. Other cushion plants such as sea pink (Armeria maritima), maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) and rockroses (Helianthemum) are great companions. The inflorescences of the catsfoot can be dried and look nice in the vase.
The variety Antennaria dioica ‘Red Wonder’ has a particularly intense flower color, the variety ‘Antennaria dioica var. Borealis’ has white, tomentose, hairy leaves and flowers white. ‘Pearl cushion’ has pearl-like flower buds on tall stems and also enchants with white flowers.