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Helenium - Care Guide

Caring for Helenium

Helen’s flower, Sneeze weed

Helenium are as essential to a traditional ‘English’ herbaceous border as Lupins or Delphiniums. They are just as hardy, usefully clump forming and magnificently floriferous as any border plant and they sit well alongside Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Leucanthemum, Salvia and Phlox; to mention just a few. Equally they complement border shrubs such as Spiraea, Potentilla, x Halimocistus, Cotinus or Choisya not to mention most taller growing ornamental grasses such as Stipa, Cortaderia or Miscanthus. Their strong flower colours go well with so many different flower combinations.

Helenium originate from meadows or woodland margins in North and Central America. They have sturdy branching stems which produce a profusion of daisy-like flower heads and flower over a long period. By removing dead flower heads the flowering period over summer can be extended into autumn and you encourage yet more flower production. The flowers are highly attractive to pollinators in the garden and make excellent long lasting cut flowers for arrangements in the house.

Taller growing varieties will require some support at the height of flowering in strong wind or rain. Helenium will deliver benefits from a well prepared border rich in compost and from an annual mulching of the dormant plants to add further nutrition to the mature clumps.

H. ‘Moerheim Beauty’ grows to around 3ft in height with 3in flower heads which have dark copper-red florets and dark brown centres. H. ‘Windley’ is slightly smaller with yellow florets overlaid with orange and dark brown centres. H. ‘Ruby Tuesday’ has a more compact habit and dark red flowers with a golden to mahogany centre. This one probably does not need plant supports.

As with many other similar clump forming perennials these plants are most easily propagated by division in spring or autumn rather than from seed. Root cuttings embedded in trays in the greenhouse will also produce quick results.


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