PerennialReference.com
Brought to you by Hallson Gardens

Helenium (heh-LEN-ee-um)

Common Name:  Sneezeweed

Light:  - Full sun to part sun

Soil:  Average to loamy, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Average, somewhat drought tolerant

Blooms:  Midsummer to fall

Zones:  4 - 8


Helenium 'Double Trouble' PPAF

Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday' PP#18234

Helenium Description and Cultural Information

Helenium autumnale, sneezeweed. (5 - 7') The sneezeweeds are native to North America and are easy to grow in almost any soil. They provide wonderful late summer color to the wild perennial garden in shades of yellow, orange, and brown. The trouble with the native species, however, is that they tend to grow tall, lanky and leggy. At the height of bloom the weight of the central knobs and their petals tend to weigh them down so that staking is absolutely necessary in the garden. Fortunately there are many terrific hybrids which have been created between this species and Helenium bigelovii so that there are several compact and sturdy plants on the market. Still, deadheading the first set up blooms will helps to keep them more vertical than drooping and may encourage a second set up blooms.

Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday' PP#18234 is a very attractive, compact variety growing 20 to 30" tall with long blooming burgundy-red flowers with a mahogany center. If deadheaded it can bloom well into the fall. H. 'Moerheim Beauty' is an old-fashioned standard variety with orange-red petals that tend to droop down from a velvety reddish-brown center and the flowers are held up on fairly sturdy stems. H. 'Chelsey' is another fairly compact variety with attractive bi-color flowers which are deep orangish-crimson with bright yellow-orange flecks. H. 'Rubinzwerg' is another compact reddish variety with burnt-red blooms around a yellow and brown center. H. 'Double Trouble' PPAF is a semi-double bright yellow plant.

How to Grow:  Helenium are quite adaptable to any good, well-drained soil in full to part sun. They are quite easy to grow and are fairly drought tolerant. The tallest varieties perform best in sites with average to even poor soil so that they remain a bit more upright. If the soil is too rich or if it is too shady then plants tend to be leggy and heavy and spend their time flopped over at the peak of bloom. Some people cut them back to about a foot tall in early June, much like Mums, in order to create a more compact, dense mound of foliage and flowers. This can help to keep them upright but will often delay their flowering until late summer. Choosing a more compact cultivar is also very helpful.

Helenium are a densely spreading plant growing from underground rhizomes, so in time they can take up a fair amount of space. Lifting and dividing them every few years helps to control their spread and maintain their vigor. Division can be done in spring or fall and the new plants should be set so that the entire crown is just below the soil. Water in lightly after planting but after that they will not need much supplemental moisture and tend to grow best when started somewhat dry.

Landscape uses:  Sneezeweed (named because it was once used in snuff, not because it is an allergen) can help provide the backbone to the late summer garden and is spectacular in large drifts. Plant it in the cottage or wildflower garden with other summer flowers such as Salvia, Heliopsis, Helianthus, Sedum, Agastache, Lilies, and ornamental grasses.

Botanical Name Index   Gardening Forums

Hallson Gardens
Mailing Address:  PO Box 220, Brooklyn, MI 49230
Nursery Address:  14280 US-127, Cement City, MI 49233
(517) 592-9450
© 1999 - 2012 Hallson Gardens. All rights reserved.
sponsor advertisements