Native to Australia
Billy Balls (Craspedia) is a genus of 23 species of subtropical daisies in the Aster family. Native to Australia (where it is found in every state except the Northern Territory), New Zealand and Tasmania, it is now commercially grown in California (since 1988) and South America for the florist industry. Also commonly called Billy Buttons, Woolyheads and Drumsticks, Billy balls begin as a mostly perennial (there is one known annual species) herb rosette with leaves of varying colors (depending on the species), from white to grass green, covered with fine hair. Each rosette produces one erect stem (usually green or gray) that grows to 2-3 feet and contains no branches. Atop of each stem sits one hemispherical or spherical-shaped flower head, approximately 1-2” in diameter, resembling a pom-pom. Although there are species of orange and white flowers, and tinted varieties can be purchased in any color, the original bright yellow is the most popular and eye-catching.
Growing Recommendations - Craspedia
Billy balls have a variety of habitats, including the Australian grasslands of Eucalyptus forests, sand dunes, herb fields, alpine areas and rock scree. They also thrive in a vast array of soil types, (such as sand, clay, earths, loams and gravels) and rainwater needs. Their only intolerance is to extremely infertile and acidic soil conditions. They do prefer full sun and cool roots, so surrounding them with gravel or sand is a good idea. Billy balls bloom throughout the summer and may be propagated by seed or division, though seed is the faster and more reliable method. Billy balls make great cut flowers and have a vase life of 8-10 days. Their bright yellow color and unusual texture adds interest to bouquets and make great boutonnieres. They also make beautiful dried blooms: air-dry them by hanging the flowers upside down in a cool, dark place.