SNEEZEWEED, helen’s flower

FAMILY: Asteraceae | GENUS: HELENIUM autumnale

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • Poisonous/Toxic

Plant Details

This native perennial should be one of our more popular summer and fall flowersbut when folks hear the common name sneezeweed they assume that the plant causes hay fever and grows invasively. In fact, it does neither. Numerous leafy stems yield great sheaves of daisylike, typically dark-centered blossoms with yellow, orange, red, or coppery rays (folded back, in many types). Although sneezeweeds are usually listed as selections of H. autumnale, most are hybrids. Resist deer.

The following sneezeweeds are widely available. Tall types reach 45 ft. and need staking so are best suited to back of the border. Compact types reach about 3 ft. tall and look great in mixed borders. Both sizes combine well with ornamental grasses.

'Baudirektor Linne'. Tall. Velvety red blooms with a brown center.

'Butterpat'. Tall. Light yellow blossoms with a deeper yellow center.

'Coppelia'. Compact grower. Warm coppery orange petals surround a brown cone.

'Crimson Beauty'. Compact. Dusky deep red, brown-centered flowers.

'Cymbal Star' ('Zimbelstern'). Tall. Gold touched with bronze; brown centers.

'Double Trouble'. This compact grower is the first selection with double flowers. Frilly, bright yellow petals; gold center.

'Mardi Gras'. Compact. Yellow petals heavily splashed with red; deep brown centers.

Mariachi series. Compact, upright, and disease resistant. Available in orange-red ('Salsa'), orange with yellow center ('Fuego'), and deep red with ruffled edges ('Siesta').

'Moerheim Beauty'. Compact. Coppery red petals; brown centers.

'Sahin's Early Flowerer'. Compact. Bright orange-red petals are splashed with yellow, most heavily near the tips; centers are chocolate-brown. Heavy bloom over a long period.

'September Gold'. Compact. Bright yellow, brown-centered blooms.

'Sunball' ('Kugelsonne'). Tall. Lemon-yellow petals, chartreuse centers.

'Wyndley'. Compact grower. Butter-yellow petals around a yellow-brown central disk.

Trim off faded blooms to encourage more flowers; be sparing with fertilizer. Divide clumps every 2 or 3 years. Sneezeweeds tolerate drought but look better with regular moisture; they must have good drainage, though. Space plants 2 ft. apart. Taller types may need staking.

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