Ozothamnus diosmifolius flowers
Photo: Ozothamnus diosmifolius flowers - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Alright, Uncle Ben probably never gave this plant a moment's thought, but Rice Flower, Ozothamnus diosmifolius, has certainly stirred the imaginations of California's flower arrangers, as the branches make superb filler material for arrangements.

by John Bagnasco

Once cut, the stems easily remain fresh for two weeks and after that can easily be dried and maintained indefinitely.

Rice Flower is an Australian native that was harvested in the wild until the 1980’s for worldwide export. It is a familiar shrubby species, endemic from central Queensland to southeastern New South Wales. .

While the wild forms have rather rank growth, recently developed compact forms are now offered for garden use. They prefer full sun, slightly acid, well-drained soils and organic fertilizers. Look to find both the traditional white variety and the captivating new pink form in garden centers, but plants can be difficult to find.

Luckily, propagation from seed is easy. Cuttings of hardened or current season’s growth also root readily. Seed can be found on both eBay and Amazon. I was able to purchase a plant from Mission Hills Nursery in San Diego last spring and it is almost never without blossoms. It’s worth the effort to check your local garden centers for inventory.

Theodore Rice Flower - Ozothamnus diosmifolius