Emilia Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Emilia plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Tasselflower, and Flora's Paintbrush: Cultivation & Garden Use

Emilia are hardy and half hardy annuals that reach from 16 to 24 inches (40 to 60 cm) in height.

Depending on the species they flower from Summer through the start of Autumn.

They carry small ball like scarlet flowers, and are ideal for use in the border and for use in flower arranging.

Common names for Emilia include Flora's Paintbrush, Devil's Paintbrush and Tassel flower.

Emilia fosbergii
Emilia fosbergii - Florida tasselflower by Pellaea.

Emilia sonchifoli
Emilia sonchifoli by Isis Vieira Barbosa.

Emilia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Tasselflower, Florida Tasselflower, Lilac Tasselflower, Flora's Paintbrush.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual, half hardy annual.
Height: 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm).
Native: Tropics, sub-tropics.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10.
Flowers: Summer, autumn.
Flower Details: Red, orange, yellow. Ball-shaped tufts.
Foliage: Blue-green.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Four weeks before last frost. Spacing 10 inches (20 cm).
Sow Inside: Use Peat pots. Germination time: one to two weeks in the dark. Temperature 60 to 70°F (16 to 21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors three weeks after the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Average soil. Deadhead.
Family: Asteraceae.
Miscellaneous: Great plant for a butterfly garden.

How to Grow Flora's Paintbrush and other Emilia in the Garden

Flora's Paintbrush and other Emilia should be sown into a sunny part of the garden either after the last frost of spring or in the autumn.

Once sown the Emilia seeds should be lightly covered with topsoil. They prefer to grow in a sunny area of the garden that has good drainage; the soil should be dry.

If you want to first grow Flora's Paintbrush seedlings indoors then they should be prepared about eight weeks before they are due to be transplanted into the garden in the middle of spring, a few weeks after the last possible frost.

The seeds of Emilia species are best planted in peat pots, and typically take one to two weeks to germinate in the dark at a temperature of 15 to 21 degrees Centigrade.

The Emilia plants should be put in the garden at about 25 cm apart. If you space them a little but closer then you may be able to create more blooms.

Common Questions

How many members does the Emilia genus have?

The Emilia genus consists of approximately 100 species.

Do members of Emilia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Emilia species, commonly known as Tassel Flowers, add a touch of color to gardens and attract butterflies.

Which Emilia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Emilia coccinea (Scarlet Tassel Flower) is the most popular among gardeners.

Are members of the Emilia plant genus fragrant?

No, Emilia species are not known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Emilia?

Emilia prefers full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil.

Is Emilia invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Emilia is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Emilia plants from my garden?

Removing Emilia involves uprooting the plant and making sure to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Emilia genus, often called Tassel Flower, contains around 100 species of annual and perennial flowering plants. These tropical plants are cherished for their fluffy, pom-pom-like flowers, typically in shades of red, orange, or pink.

Emilia plants prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds, which should be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Tassel Flowers make excellent additions to borders and containers and are also attractive to butterflies. In hot climates, they may benefit from afternoon shade.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Emilia plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Felicia and Townsendia plants.