Don't Let Its Name Put you off
Common Name: sneezeweed
Botanical Name: Helenium autumnale
Form: upright, clumping
Plant Type: herbaceous perennial
Mature Size: 3-5 ft. tall and 2-3 ft wide
Origin: North and South Americas
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8
Foliage: narrow lance-shaped up to 6” long, alternate
Flowers: showy daisy-like, composite 2” flowers held in clusters, wedge-shaped, scalloped petal tips, yellow and/or orange ray petals encircle a protruding pollen laden disk. Late July to frost.
Fruit: rust coloured seed clusters
Stems: winged stems that branch at the ends
Soil: tolerant of most soil except very dry
Uses: perennials borders, mixed borders, containers, meadows, naturalized areas, cottage gardens, pollinators, butterflies, songbirds, rain garden, along streams & ponds, cut flower, deer resistant
Propagation: seeds, division of roots
Pruning: cut back stems in late May to early June to encourage compact growth, more flowers and to reduce the need for staking, deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooms
Problems: not prone to insects or diseases, intolerant of dry soils
This delightful and showy late blooming perennial has many assets, except for its name –sneezeweed. Once used as snuff, their dried leaves were inhaled to rid the body of evil spirits. Now it’s used as a reliable, easy growing perennial, perfect for sunny locations that flowers for months long after other flowers have faded.
Plant breeders have created new and exciting varieties and cultivars from this wetland loving indigenous plant from the Americas. Colours now range from yellow, orange, deep reds and golds in delightful combinations. Flowers are bigger and more bodacious on smaller and more compact plants.
Their daisy-like, composite flowers are perfect for butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects. Their round centre provide a perfect place for them to land so they can easily feed on the copious amounts of pollen.
Heleniums like moist organic rich soil and are a perfect late summer and fall flower when planted next to streams, ponds and raingardens. To increase soil moisture and retention, add compost, composted manure and other organic matter.